DescriptionGulf Islands National Park Reserve protects an island landscape of rocky headlands, forested hills and shorelines studded with colorful tide pools. The park encompasses areas of lands scattered over fifteen larger islands and includes many smaller islets and reefs. Waters adjacent to park lands, extending 200 metres (650 ft.) seaward, also are under Parks Canada management.
The park shares the larger populated islands of Mayne, Saturna and the Penders with communities that offer a range of tourist amenities. Facilities and services inside the national park reserve include camping, moorage, hiking trails, day use/picnic areas and regularly scheduled interpretation programs from May 15-Sept. 30. The populated larger islands are accessible by vehicle, bicycle and BC Ferries from Vancouver and Victoria. The smaller islands are accessible by only boat or kayak. Water taxis also operate in several areas. In the summer, a passenger ferry takes visitors from the main pier in Sidney to a popular white sand beach and camping area on Sidney Island in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Many local tour operators offer such recreational opportunities as cycling, kayaking, scuba diving, whale-watching or hiking. Comfortable, sturdy shoes and water are recommended for all hiking excursions.
The islands are a haven for various wildlife, including such endangered species as the anatum peregrine falcon, the sharp-tailed snake, Townsend's big-eared bat, the olive-sided flycatcher, the western meadowlark and the Orca whale. The southern Gulf Islands are home to the endangered Garry Oak ecosystem. Various shorebirds, waterfowl, great blue herons, seals and sea lions also inhabit the area. There are two important bird areas in and around the park at Sidney Channel (near Sidney Island) and Active Pass near Mayne Island.
For more information, contact the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve InfoCentre at (250) 654-4000 or (866) 944-1744. For campground reservations, phone (877) 737-3783.