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North America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Southern Gulf Islands > Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a national park reserve in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

Understand[edit]

The reserve covers 36 km2 (14 sq mi) and was established on May 9, 2003. It includes many islets and reef areas.

There is no interpretive centre. There are 10 backcountry camping areas on eight islands and two drive-in campgrounds on Vancouver and North Pender Islands. Though open year round, there are some winter access restrictions.

History[edit]

Landscape[edit]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Orcas, porpoises, seals, and otters swim within the estuaries. Eagles, falcons, and turkey vultures soar around this park reserve

Climate[edit]

Get in[edit]

Mayne, Saturna and Pender Islands are reached by car ferry from Swartz Bay, 31 km from Victoria. Sidney Spit is a summer passenger ferry ride from the Town of Sidney. The rest of the park and protected waters are accessible by kayaks, powerboat or sailboat.

By drive-on ferry

BC Ferries provides vehicle and passenger service to and from Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Mayne, Saturna and the Pender islands. Once you arrive at the ferry terminal, you can only access park lands by driving or cycling.

By walk-on ferry

Sidney Spit is accessible during the summer months by a passenger ferry departing from the Town of Sidney. Visitors can access the ferry at the dock at the foot of Beacon Avenue. The ferry operates from late June to early September 4-5 times a day, and takes 25 min. Adult fare: $29, seniors and children under 12: $16 (2017).

By boat or kayak

All other areas of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve are accessible only by powerboat, sailboat or kayak.

Fees and permits[edit]

Parks Canada Passes

The Discovery Pass provides unlimited admission for a full year at over 80 Parks Canada places that typically charge a daily entrance fee It provides faster entry and is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Prices for 2018 (taxes included):

  • Family/group (up to 7 people in a vehicle): $136.40
  • Children and youth (0-17): free
  • Adult (18-64): $67.70
  • Senior (65+): $57.90

The Cultural Access Pass: people who have received their Canadian citizenship in the past year can qualify for free entry to some sites.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Hiking[edit]

  • Mayne Island: 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. 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.
  • Russell Island: a moderate 1-km loop trail from the boat access that leads to the historic Mahoi House.
  • Sydney Spit: an easy 2-km loop trail with cross trails, and 1.5-km spur trails.
  • Tumbo Island: a gentle 3.5-km trail provides ocean views of Cabbage Island and the San Juan Islands.

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).
  • 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.
  • The Fog Alarm Building (FAB) at East Point on Saturna Island was rehabilitated by members of the Saturna Heritage Committee[5]. In the summer months, visitors can speak with FAB volunteers and learn about Saturna Island's cultural heritage.
  • The Roe House at Roesland on Pender Island is a 1908 farmhouse that was rehabilitated by members of the Pender Islands Museum Society. In the summer months, visitors can speak with Roe House volunteers and learn about Pender Island's cultural heritage.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Camping[edit]

Camping fees per night (2018)

  • McDonald:
    • per party, per vehicle (May 15 to September 30) $17.60
    • per senior party, per vehicle (May 15 to June 14 and after Labour Day to September 30) $6.80
    • additional vehicle $6.80
    • additional vehicle, per senior party, (May 15 to June 14 and after Labour Day to September 30) $3.40
  • Prior Centennial (North Pender Island):
    • per party, per vehicle (May 15 to September 30) $17.60
    • additional vehicle $6.80
    • per senior party, per vehicle (May 15 to June 14 and after Labour Day to September 30) $6.80
    • additional vehicle, per senior party (May 15 to June 14 and after Labour Day to September 30) $3.40
  • Sidney Spit:
    • per party (May 15 to September 30) $17.60

Backcountry[edit]

Backcountry use and camping per person (2018):

  • Overnight (16 years and older) $9.80

(Applies to Cabbage Island, Princess Margaret (Portland Island), Beaumont (South Pender Island), Shingle Bay (North Pender Island), D’Arcy Island, Isle-de-Lis (Rum Island), James Bay (Prevost Island), and Narvaez Bay (Saturna Island).)

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This park travel guide to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.