Gulf Islands National Park
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a marine park protecting the sensitive lowland eco systems in the southern Gulf Islands Archipelago. The archipelago reserve covers 35 square kilometres of land including 15 islands and 30 islets plus approximately 26 square kilometres of ocean.
The Gulf Island National Park was established in 2003. It become the 40th National Park in Canada. It is a collection of ocean bays, coves, islands, islets, reefs, underwater caves, rocky coastlines, bluffs and jagged headlands. It is an environment popular for many activities like ocean kayaking, wildlife watching, wilderness camping, fishing, sailing, boating and scuba diving.
The park protects a diverse collection of marine wildlife and plant species. Some of the protected species include Garry oak trees, arbutus trees, wild lillies, shellfish and whales. In total there are about 10 threatened species and 15 endangered species in the park and a few more on the verge of becoming threatened.
Wildlife watching and sightseeing are popular activities when exploring the ocean channels in the park or when visiting one of the main islands. There are opportunities to view sea birds and marine wildlife like seals, Sea Lions,
porpoises and whales.. and Blue Herons, Bald Eagles and Red Tail Hawks.
The park includes
4 geographical zones - The Outer Islands, Prevost Island, The Penders
and the Inner Islands.
Outer islands region includes Saturna Island, Tumbo island, Cabbage Island, Mayne Island, Anniversary Island, Samual Island and the Belle Chain Islets.
The Prevost Island region includes such highlight destinations as James Bay, Selby
Cove, Portlock Point, Channel Islands and the Nearby Islets.
Penders region includes North and South Pender
Islands. The highlight destinations include Roesland Lake, Loretta's Wood, Mount
Norman, Greenburn Lake and Blunden Islet.
The Inner Islands region includes
Russel, Island, Portland Island, Brackman Island, Isle-de-Lis, Sidney
Spit and D'Arcy island.
The Gulf Islands National Park is a detailed network of ocean channels, waterways and islands. Some of the islands have villages with services and welcome visitors. Other islands may be private property or protected First Nation land and do not permit visitors. The bigger islands are serviced by BC Ferries.
For the experienced kayaker and boater it is important to plan a Gulf Islands National Park adventure before departure. Throughout the Gulf Islands National Park are marked areas
for wilderness camping and some day-use areas with pit toilets, hiking
and walking trails. Pack out what you pack in. Please abide by the "leave no trace camping" rules.
For the inexperienced kayaker it is wise to book with a tour group which will provide a guide, lessons and much experience. Kayak tours and sailing charters operate from the bigger islands in or near the park. In the south there are tours and guides operating from Sidney and Victoria. In the north tours and charters operate from Mayne and Pender Islands.
How to Get to Gulf Islands National Marine Park
The Gulf Islands National Park is best accessed via Mayne and Pender
Islands in the Gulf Islands and Sidney on Vancouver Island. All islands are serviced by BC Ferries. From these islands self guided and guided wildlife and sightseeing tours depart on kayak, scuba diving and boating adventures.