On March 1 of this year, BC Parks celebrated its 100th birthday. The first provincial park created in British Columbia was Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island back in 1911, and since then BC Parks has grown to be one of the largest park systems in the world. Throughout 2011, events, contests and celebrations will honor this milestone in our provincial history.
Strathcona Park on central Vancouver Island is more than 250,00 hectares of rugged wilderness dominated by mountain peaks, some of which are snow covered year round. The landscape is laced with rivers, creeks and streams. Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau offer visitor-oriented developments. Hiking, backpacking and trout fishing are enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. Della Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada, is located in the southern part of the park and the Golden Hinde, the highest point on Vancouver Island, sits almost in the center of the park, west of Buttle Lake. Three roadless tracts, including the Comox Glacier, are dedicated preservation areas. Both our Campbell River Bed & Breakfast Susie’s on the Shore, and Miracle Beach Bed & Breakfast as well as our Courtenay Bed & Breakfasts are great starting points for exploring the natural wonders of Strathcona Park.
On Salt Spring Island you will find several provincial parks but one of the most beautiful is Ruckle Park. It has 7 km of shoreline and a mixture of forest, field and shore habitats. From the rocky cliffs watch BC Ferries exit Active Pass, watch for orcas and sea lions, mink and river otters and tidepools rich in colorful creatures. Divers visit Ruckle Park as well and enjoy marine life in its underwater caves or on the ocean floor. Henry Ruckle first homesteaded in the area in 1872, and his descendants still raise sheep at the entrance to the park. Anchor Point Bed & Breakfast Suite, Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway and Quarrystone House Bed & Breakfast are close to all the attractions on Salt Spring Island, including Ruckle Park.
Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park is situated in the northern Okanagan region, north of the Shuswap. 1076 hectares large, with 11 km along the Adams River, the park offers hiking and mountain biking in summer and cross-country skiing and snow shoeing in winter, but is most well known for its spectacular sockeye salmon run in early October. One of the largest salmon runs in the world, every fourth year is a “dominant” year with millions of salmon making their way up stream. 2011 is a “sub-dominant” run, which, while not as big as the dominant run of 2010, is still of considerable size. The Adams River squeezes through a narrow canyon to create spectacular rapids, much favored by river rafters and kayakers. Your hosts at Mara Station Bed & Breakfast, A Rover’s Rest in Blind Bay and Artist’s House Heritage Bed & Breakfast in Sicamous will be able to give you all the inside information to get the most out of your visit to the Adams River area.
One of our Guild members is actually located right inside of one of BC’s largest parks, Wells Gray Provincial Park. Blue Grouse Country Inn, a Clearwater Bed & Breakfast, is your ideal location for exploring the park. A little over an hour away is lakefront Sheridan Lake Bed & Breakfast, also a good starting point for a visit to Wells Gray Park. There is excellent birding and wildlife viewing opportunities in the park, hiking for every level of ability, boating, canoeing and kayaking. There are opportunities for guided horseback riding, river rafting, fishing and hiking, really something for every outdoor interest. Helmcken Falls on the Murtle River, the fourth highest waterfall in Canada, was the original impetus for the creation of Wells Gray Provincial Park. A short paved road from the main park road leads to a viewing platform on the rim of the canyon.
Where ever you go in British Columbia, you will find a provincial park not that far away. Near most BC Parks you will also find a British Columbia Bed & Breakfast as the perfect place to stay while exploring our spectacular natural environment.