Thetis Lake (Photo by Ryan Holder/Instagram)

Thetis Lake and nearby regional parks have just gotten a whole lot bigger, according to the Capital Regional District (CRD).

Two large parcels of land have been purchased by the CRD for $6.5 million with the intent to increase connectivity between multiple regional parks and Thetis Lake.

The larger of the two properties measures 81 hectares, and includes 5 lots beside Thetis lake and Francis/King Parks. The land includes significant old-growth and mature second-growth forests, as well as wetland habitats that drain into Craigflower Creek.

The purchase of this land cost $5.5 million and includes existing conservation commitments and the option to purchase more land surrounding Pike Lake in the future.

See also: Former pistol range at Thetis Lake converted back to park

Meanwhile, the smaller property measures 68 hectares, and is surrounded by two parks: the Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Parks. The land is heavily forested and encompasses the Jack Lake/Waugh Creek watershed.

This property was the last piece needed to complete one continuous stretch of protected land between Crabapple Lake and Jack Lake, which is deemed an important environment for wildlife.

“The lands near Thetis Lake will provide valuable greenspace near a dense urban area, for residents of the region,” said View Royal Mayor and CRD Director, David Screech, in a release.

“This acquisition represents a significant addition to Thetis Lake Park within the Town Of View Royal. Our Council thanks the CRD for their vision and their foresight in acquiring these lands.”

Funding for the land came from the CRD’s Land Acquisition Fund, which focuses on acquiring land to add to regional parks and trail systems.

“The CRD, with the support of our partners, has acquired more than 4,200 hectares of land valued at $58.7 million through the Land Acquisition Fund since it was established in 2000,” said CRD Parks and Environment Committee Chair Ben Isitt in a release.

“In that time the regional park system has grown from 8,400 hectares to more than 13,000 hectares.”