Thursday 27 July 2017

Provincial Parks on Vancouver Island

You can't drive more than an hour on Vancouver Island without hitting a Provincial Park, or so it seems. Did you know there are 85 provincial parks on and around Vancouver Island, with another 30 in the Gulf and Discovery Island groups?
Buttle Lake, Strathcona Provincial Park
Vancouver Island is home to the very first provincial park in BC - Strathcona - which stretches along the centre of Vancouver Island and encompasses a variety of mountains and lakes providing serious hiking, boating, rock climbing and camping opportunities. Strathcona is a popular destination for wilderness seekers, as it provides two large drive-to campgrounds as well as a myriad of hiking trails and back country camping sites.
Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park
While many of the parks are well known, such as Miracle BeachRathtrevorLittle Qualicum Falls and Bamberton, others are often known only to a select few. Parks such as Artlish CavesWhite Ridge and Sooke Mountain are not featured in magazines or tourist brochures, but are simply there to be found for those seeking an adventure.
Miracle Beach Provincial Park
Some of the parks are marine parks, encompassing bodies of water that have been deemed worthy of protection. While beaches or small islands may be associated with these parks, generally they are accessed by boat. A few, like Raft Cove, do have trail access but it is not well maintained.
Raft Cove Provincial Park
The numerous parks on the island provide a wonderful opportunity for exploration and speak to the amazing natural beauty of this area.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 20 July 2017

Marine Parks in Coastal BC

The coast of BC has over 40 designated marine parks. These are parks that include both water and land areas but are generally accessible by float plane or boat only (with some exceptions). Many of them allow wilderness camping but only a few offer even basic services (an outhouse, water, campsites).
Rebecca Spit Marine Park, accessible by road as well as boat on Quadra Island.
These marine parks run along the entire coast of BC and among the numerous islands that dot the coast. They are an attraction for boaters, kayakers, hikers and many others. The largest marine park on the coast is the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, off the NE coast of Vancouver Island, which consists of dozens of small islands and the waters around them. This park is very popular with kayakers and people whale watching.

Marine parks often provide a welcome refuge for people traveling along the coast, and are common meet-up spots for boaters.  Desolation Sound Marine Park, along the central coast, is very popular with boaters due to its protected waters, easy access to the Discovery Islands and its beautiful beaches.
private properties within Desolation Sound Marine Park

Some of the remote and recreational properties we have listed through the BC Oceanfront office either border or are very near to marine parks. A select few are even lucky enough to be private property within a marine park - very rare.
flying over Surge Narrows Marine Park

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 13 July 2017

BCO Coastal Gems: Quatsino

If you have spent any time talking with Ed, or looking at our website/facebook page, you know that we have an affinity here for Quatsino. This water access community on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island embodies much of what makes great island living.

Quatsino is inside Quatsino Sound, about a 40 minute boat ride to the open west coast waters off Vancouver Island. It is most commonly accessed by boat from Coal Harbour, although you can also launch at Port Alice and even Winter Harbour.

Quatsino was at one time part of a large coastal network in the region, when canneries, mines and logging were extremely active. With its protected waters and easy access, it is still a chosen spot for many outdoor enthusiasts.

There is an active community there, with approx, 20 year-round homes and a higher number of seasonal residents. A road connects the community from one end to the other, and there is power to the community - an unusual bonus in water access communities.

Add to the convenience and amenities the beauty of the region and you have a magical coastal place.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 6 July 2017

Fires and Fog Zones

Coastal BC, including Vancouver Island, is known for its rainfall. Those rains feed the amazing temperate rainforest that blankets much of the coastline, and is the cause of the nickname The Wet Coast. However, while much of the year can be wet it isn't wet all year. The beauty of the west coast is that summers are often warm and dry.

Warm and dry summers are wonderful for those who live here, making the trade off of warm, wet winters a good one. However, dry conditions are not always a good mix with people and forests. Wildfires happen naturally enough with lightening strikes during dry weather. Wildfires from human causes are a problem. 

Most summers, if the conditions are typical, the province implements a fire ban. This year the ban went into effect at noon today (July 6) for all of the coast. No campfires, no backyard fires, no beach fires.

Unless, that is, you are in the fog zone. This is something else particular to the coast, a slim stretch of coast along the open ocean that gets a lot of fog and damp air, even when the rest of the coast is experiencing warm, dry summers. The fog zone is exempt from the fire ban.

The dry weather also greatly impacts our forestry and reforestation workers, as work can be shut down in the summer if it is felt that the dry conditions cause danger with the machinery or risk from fires. Salmon bearing rivers are impacted as well, and rivers with dams are carefully controlled to make sure there is still enough water in the system for salmon habitat not to be damaged.

As true islanders and west coasters, we here at the BCO office will make the most of our warm, dry summer - even if it means no campfires for a while.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!