Thursday 26 July 2018

BCO Coastal Gems: Cortes Island

Cortes Island is one of the Discovery Islands between the mainland of BC and the east coast of Vancouver Island. It has ferry service via Campbell River and Quadra Island, which makes it appealing to summer travellers as well as people looking for an island to call home.

Like many islands in this area, Cortes boasts an assortment of rugged rocky coastline, sandy white beaches and warm summer ocean water. With all amenities and services, including a school for up to Grade 9, and Cortes really does offer the best of both worlds - services when needed but the charm and appeal of a small island.

There is a population of approx 1000 on the island, from hippies to retirees and from loggers to fishermen to back-to-the-land farmers. It is this mix of people that gives Cortes its charm.

Lakefront, farm land, residential, rural and spectacular oceanfront are all available on Cortes. There are parks to explore, beaches to walk and community events to participate in. The climate of Cortes is slightly milder and drier than Vancouver Island or the mainland coast, as it is in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island, although it still fosters lush rain forest with its winter rains.

Cortes is a great choice for a summer vacation home or for a year-round residence. Ed and Shelley have been spending a fair bit of time there this spring and summer, with both listings and buyers. They are always impressed with the beauty of the island!

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

Thursday 19 July 2018

Summer Fire Bans and the Fog Zone

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 yesterday at noon (July 18) 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!

Thursday 12 July 2018

Elk Falls and the Suspension Bridge

Elk Falls, and the surrounding Provincial Park, has long been an attraction for people visiting the Campbell River area. Three years ago, the local Rotary Club funded a suspension bridge and new trail to view the falls and it is proving to be a popular spot with locals and tourists. It provides clear views of the Falls as well as a look down the narrow canyon that follows from the Falls.

The walk to the bridge from the parking lot takes you through a forested area, along easy trails. You can also access the old viewing area and trails from this trail system.

To get to the bridge itself be prepared for some steep stairs. The stairs take you down further to a viewing platform (almost directly across from the old platform) which gives an amazing view of the Falls and the river before it. 

Of course, the star of the show is Elk Falls, on the Campbell River, the third and largest of a series of falls (Deer and Moose being the other two).

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