Report recommends park land acquisition

January 25, 2016

Whoever had the bright idea to create a Gulf Islands National Park Reserve was one federal government staff member who was not ‘asleep at the wheel’.

I will never forget the first time the ferry I was on cruised into the part of the ocean where I got glimpses of a variety of the Gulf Islands. I had found my promised land.

I have travelled much of Canada at different times and feasted on its beauty but I think the Gulf Islands area is probably the most beautiful and, if not, is rivaled only by places like the Sunshine Coast and probably Haida Gwai (I haven’t been there) in the western part of B.C.

On Knowledge Network (PBS) television, the segment on the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is aired quite often in the Parks Canada series. Watching it can make your mouth drop open as your eyes greedily take it all in. Just imagine how it is even better than this when meet ‘in person’ on B.C. Ferries or actually putting your feet down on the soil of these gorgeous places.

Here is an article I wrote when the federal government was planning this new national park:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

July 5, 2000

Report recommends park land acquisition

by Tanya Lester

Acquiring additional land for the Penders portion of the proposed Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and providing on-island staff are among recommendations made to Parks Canada.

According to consultant Greg McDade, there was “overwhelming support” for including a 29-hectare piece of Crown land on the island’s east side in the proposed national park. He agreed that its “high conservation values” made it seem “entirely appropriate as national park”.

Hastings Park, five acres on the southeastern corner of the Roesland/Malahat properties already acquired, should also be discussed for inclusion by BC Parks and Parks Canada, McDade stated.

On the other hand, he wrote that the Mortimer Spit and Canal Zone lands should continue as community park as there was not community consensus in favour of including that area in the national park.

In reference to the Beaumont and Roesland park boundaries, McDade stated that there is ample support for park boundaries to “extend sufficiently far into the water to allow effective park management of foreshore and recreational boating use.”

The Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy (PMHL) consultant, whose report was released last week, also encouraged Parks Canada to locate operational staff on the Penders.

As well, McDade pointed out that there is “widespread support” for an administrative centre located on the island with “strong submissions” in this regard from local Islands Trust representatives.

McDade wrote, in his general recommendations, that “Parks Canada should give careful consideration to either locating the administration centre on the Gulf Islands, or if that is not practicable, to locating many of the administrative staff and a strong operational presence there.” He is not specific as to which island might be the most appropriate location for the centre.

Most of the Pender residents who provided input were opposed to car-based camping, which was similar to the response on other islands.

With regard to tour buses and recreational vehicles, McDade went along with islanders’ wishes to discourage them. He also reported that Pender residents want their roads to remain “slow and winding, green and small”.

In his general recommendations, McDade directed Parks Canada to negotiate fire protection agreements on the Penders, Mayne and Saturna.

McDade consulted with residents on four of the five Gulf Islands in April and May before authoring his report.

The national park proposal includes parts of North and South Pender, Saturna, Mayne, Prevost, Portland, Tumbo and Sidney islands.


Tanya Lester, besides being a writer, is a psychic reader (tea leaf, tarot, mediumship, psychic channel and intuitive counselling), a house sitter, a reiki master and an art model. To find out more go to or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter or contact her directly at or 250-538-0086



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