Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Location of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Location British Columbia, Canada
Nearest city Sidney
Coordinates 48°51′2″N 123°26′52″W / 48.85056°N 123.44778°W / 48.85056; -123.44778Coordinates: 48°51′2″N 123°26′52″W / 48.85056°N 123.44778°W / 48.85056; -123.44778
Area 33 km2 (13 sq mi)
Established May 9, 2003
Governing body Parks Canada

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is the 40th National Park in a system of 43 parks and park reserves across Canada. Located in British Columbia's Gulf Islands, it covers 33 square kilometres (13 sq mi) over 16 islands. It also includes numerous islets and reef areas.

Getting There[edit]

  • Mayne Island, Pender Island and Saturna Island are all serviced by BC Ferries[1]. Schedules vary seasonally by island.
  • Float plane service is available from the Vancouver International Airport and Victoria Airports to the larger islands of Mayne, Pender and Saturna [2][3].
  • Sidney Spit (on Sidney Island) is serviced by a privately operated walk-on ferry.
  • Dinghy docks are available at Winter Cove (Saturna Island), Roesland (Pender Island), Russell Island, and at Princess Bay and Royal Cove on Portland Island. All marine-accessible GINPR properties have beach accesses suitable for pulling up kayaks, canoes or small boats.[1]
  • Cabbage Island, Sidney Spit (Sidney Island) and Beaumont (Pender Island) all offer mooring buoys to larger marine vessels.[2] Dock space is available at Sidney Spit (Sidney Island).
  • Many companies offer marine charters to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Refer to the Licensed Operators List on the GINPR website for a list of business licensed to operate in GINPR [4].
Aerial view of several Gulf Islands.

The Islands[edit]

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 5 kayak-in (or boat-in), backcountry campsites on Cabbage Island. There is no potable water available on Cabbage Island and no campfires are allowed, regardless of season.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 7 kayak-in (or boat-in) backcountry campsites on D'Arcy Island. There is no potable water available on D'Arcy, and no campfires are permitted, regardless of season.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 3 kayak-in (or boat-in) backcountry campsites on Isle-de-Lis(Rum Island). There is no potable water available, and there are no campfires allowed, regardless of season. Neighboring Gooch Island is private property; do not trespass.

Bennett Bay
Lighthouse at Georgina Point on Mayne Island

Hiking: There is an easy 1.5 km loop trail at Bennett Bay that leads to Campbell Point. Campbell Point features remnant old-growth forest and views of Georgeson Island. Bennett Bay has a sandy beach which is suitable for sunbathing and swimming [4]. Georgina Point is the location of a historic lighthouse. Built in 1885, the Georgina Point lighthouse marks the entrance to Active Pass. Orca whales, harbour seals and seabirds can all be seen at Georgina Point

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 49 drive-in, frontcountry campsites at McDonald Campground, which is located near the quaint town of Sidney-by-the-Sea. McDonald Campground's proximity to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal [5] makes it an excellent base of operations for exploring the Southern Gulf Islands. Municipal bus service into Sidney, Victoria, or to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is also available from McDonald Campground. McDonald Campground offers amenities like potable water, pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits (seasonally available).

Shoreline of Pender Island.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve has two options for campers on Pender: the drive-in, frontcountry sites at Prior Centennial Campground or the walk-in (or boat-in) backcountry sites at Beaumont. Prior Centennial has 17 reservable sites and amenities include potable water, pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits(seasonally available). Beaumont has 11 sites, and amenities include pit toilets and 15 mooring buoys for boaters. There is no potable water at Beaumont and no campfires are permitted, regardless of season. Hiking:A difficult 1.5 km trail at Beaumont leads from the Ainslie Point parking lot to the shoreline via steep switchbacks that cut through dense temperate rainforest. The difficult 1.5 km trail at Mt. Norman ascends 244 metres to a panoramic look-out with views of the San Juan Islands. The moderate 1.5 km trail at Roe Lake meanders through the Shingle Bay uplands to one of the Southern Gulf Island's only freshwater lakes.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 24 kayak-in (or boat-in) backcountry campsites at three locations on Portland Island: 6 at Shell Beach, 12 at Princess Bay and 6 at Arbutus Point. There is no potable water available on Portland Island and no campfires are allowed, regardless of season. Hiking: A 6.5 km loop trail follows the shoreline of Portland Island, and is accessible from any of the three camping areas (Shell Beach, Princess Bay, Arbutus Point). This moderately challenging hike requires approximately 3 hours to complete, but can be shortened to about 1 hour by taking one of the cross-island forest trails.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 10 kayak-in (or boat-in), backcountry campsites at James Bay on Prevost Island. There is no potable water available on Prevost Island and no campfires are allowed, regardless of season.

Hiking: A moderate 1 km loop trail from the boat access that leads to the historic Mahoi House.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 7 walk-in (or kayak-in) backcountry campsites at Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island. The trailhead to Narvaez Bay is located at the parking lot at the end of Narvaez Bay Road. There is also a bike rack available for cyclists to lock up their bikes. There is no potable water at Narvaez Bay, and no campfires are permitted, regardless of season [10]. Hiking:At Narvaez Bay, there is a challenging 2.5 km (approx. 1.5hr) trail to the viewpoint at Monarch Head. At Monarch Head there are views of Boundary Pass and the American San Juan Islands[3]. At East Point, there is a sand-and-pebble beach for sunbathing and swimming. Harbour seals, sea lions, river otter, Dall's porpoise and orca whales are commonly seen from East Point.[3] The Lyall Creek trail (2 km; approx. 40 mins 1 way) cuts through second growth Douglas-fir forest to a waterfall that feeds into one of the Southern Gulf Island's only salmon-bearing creeks.[4] At 397 metres (1,303 feet) Mt. Warburton Pike is Saturna Island's highest point. At Mt. Warburton Pike there are panoramic views of Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands. Feral goats, bald eagles, turkey vultures and falcons can all be seen from Mt. Warburton Pike.[5] At Winter Cove, the 1.5 km loop trail travels through skunk cabbage wetland, spruce-salal upland and salt marsh, before arriving at the turbulent waters of Boat Pass.

Camping:Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 26 backcountry campsites at Sidney Spit on Sidney Island. Sidney Island is accessible from May until September by private marine vessel or by the privately operated walk-on passenger ferry that departs daily from the town of Sidney . Potable water is available at Sidney Spit, but because of high sodium content it should not be consumed by those with heart or kidney ailments. There are also pit toilets available, 21 mooring buoys and a sheltered group picnicking area which can be reserved in advance by calling the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve office (1-866-944-1744). Hiking: An easy 2 km loop trail with cross trails, as well as 1.5 km spur trails.

Hiking: A gentle 3.5 km trail provides ocean views of Cabbage Island and the San Juan Islands[6][7]

Learning Experiences[edit]

  • Interpretive Programs are held from June through September on the larger islands of Saturna and Pender, as well as on Sidney Spit (Sidney Island).[8]
  • The Russell Island Host Program is a collaboration between Parks Canada and the Mahoi family. The Russell Island hosts are descendents of Maria Mahoi, a pioneering woman of Kanaka (Hawaiian) and First Nations descent.[9]
  • The Fog Alarm Building (FAB) at East Point on Saturna Island was rehabilitated by members of the Saturna Heritage Committee[6]. In the summer months, visitors can speak with FAB volunteers and learn about Saturna Island's cultural heritage.[10]
  • The Roe House at Roesland on Pender Island is a 1908 farmhouse that was rehabilitated by members of the Pender Islands Museum Society[7]. In the summer months, visitors can speak with Roe House volunteers and learn about Pender Island's cultural heritage.[11]

Areas included in the park[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]