Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Park for Quadra Island!

Spring has sprung officially, and there's official good news to celebrate on this first day of spring. The BC government has finally signed an agreement to create a new provincial park on Quadra Island! Read about it here in the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

This new park is terrific news for kayakers and yachters and ecotourists and others who love Waiatt Bay. For almost 20 years, a partnership of groups (including the Pacific Marine Heritage Trust, the Quadra Island Conservancy Stewardship Society, the Save the Heart of Quadra Parks committee, the BC Marine Parks Forever Society, VanCity credit union and BC Parks) has been working on this project.

A new park will be created, linking Octopus Islands Marine Provincial Park (click here for maps and description) and Small Inlet Marine Provincial Park (click here for maps and description) across the narrow isthmus joining the northern end of Quadra to the main part of the island. And it's not a little park, either -- the province has accquired 395 hectares of waterfront property!
Of course, these 395 hectares have been bought for $5.85 million from a forest company, Merrill & Ring. The province traded some cash and timber rights on nearby East Thurlow Island, as reported in this BC government news release which has several quotes from officials and associations, and there were large contributions from the other partners. And alas, near as I could tell from my visit to Waiatt Bay, much of this ecologically sensitive land is covered with second-growth forest rather than un-logged first growth. Heck, the shoreline where my group stayed is even noted on the charts as "Log Dump" because it was the place where logs were slid into the water to be transported in log booms and Davis rafts.

We at Kayak Yak have written several blog posts about kayaking at Quadra Island and related issues of interest, and my post about helping intertidal biologist Amy Groesbeck with her clam garden research. The land and shores within the new marine park includes areas of great historical and ongoing significance to First Nations people, from middens at village sites to clam gardens and a traditional portage route between Small Inlet and Waiatt Bay. It would be nice to see ecotourism projects being done by local First Nations people ...

Still wanting to know more about the clam gardens protected within this new marine park? Check out this article from a science website, and this article at the Vancouver Sun, and the video.
There are plenty of articles online to read about the new park at Waiatt Bay. Check here for another article, and scroll down for more stories of interest to paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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