Owls’ Haven: the Bowden Kusters Natural Area

Owls’ Haven: the Bowden Kusters Natural Area is a 100-acre mature forest dominated by hardwood and cedar, located in Alaska, Prince County, Prince Edward Island. This natural area boasts a rich variety of ecosystems, including mature hardwood stands, upland cedar forest, and an expansive open marsh displaying evidence of long-term beaver activity. Due to the threat of timber harvest in this region, the donation of this property represents a crucial addition to the protected lands on PEI.

Natural Area Map

Acquisition and Legal Status

Owls’ Haven: the Bowden Kusters Natural Area was purchased by Island Nature Trust in February 2024 thanks to a generous donation from Marie-Ann Bowden in memory of her husband, Peter, an entomologist and forester.

Marie-Ann, who has been a member of INT’s Board of Directors since 2020, is a dedicated environmental advocate who taught and researched environmental, property, and water law at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also an active member with the Upton Farm Trust and the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water.

Marie-Ann Bowden and her chihuahua, Gary, at Owls’ Haven.
A barred owl roosting in a red spruce on the property.

Marie-Ann and INT staff visited the property in the spring of 2024 to conduct a biological inventory and were happily surprised to see a barred owl roosting in a red spruce. This gave the property its name, Owls’ Haven.

This property and its natural landscapes will be conserved forever under the PEI Natural Ares Protection Act.

Landscape Context

Owls’ Haven: the Bowden Kusters Natural Area is situated amongst a contiguous forest block south of Coleman, PEI. The property expands on a network of Crown land and protected areas in the region. The Provincial and Ducks Unlimited Portage Wildlife Management Area and Acadian Marshes Natural Area are positioned roughly 4 kilometers east of this property and Island Nature Trust’s Alaska Forest Natural Area and Acadian Marshes – Percival River Salt Marsh Natural Area are situated approximately 2.5 kilometers south.

The Owls’ Haven forest canopy

Ecological Description

While this property has been impacted by timber harvesting in the past, most of the forest was left to mature and naturalize. Canopy species include sugar maple, red maple, red spruce, yellow birch, as well as the provincially rare American beech, white elm, white ash, black ash, and eastern white cedar. The property also hosts a rich forest floor with numerous wildflowers, ferns, and shrubs, including the uncommon showy lady’s slipper, swamp red currant, alder-leaved buckthorn, and cucumber root. The forest structure contains ideal habitat for the federally at-risk Canada warbler, eastern wood pewee, little brown bat, and northern long-eared bat.

Roadside beaver activity has created a large freshwater marsh with open water sections on the property.


Owls’ Haven: the Bowden Kusters Natural Area is situated off the Terry Boylan Road, which is a dirt road and only accessible at certain times of the year. This property is roadside and can be accessed at your own risk. The Alaska – Derby region is fairly undeveloped, and it is recommended that visitors have two navigation devices on them. No hunting, campfires, or overnight camping are allowed the property.

For more information on access to our natural areas, please contact our Land Stewardship Team.