Five Facts about Strathcona Provincial Park
Strathcona Provincial Park is British Columbia’s oldest park and Vancouver Island’s largest provincial park; this year marks the parks 108 birthday on March 1st! The park is impressive, with a total of 248,669 hectares (247,961 hectares of upland and 708 hectares of foreshore), there is something for every type of adventurer.
This park is beloved and an area one could spend years in, exploring, hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, climbing, to name a few of the favoured sports. While we celebrate this amazing piece of wilderness we also want to ensure that this park is protected for generations to come. Please follow the Leave No Trace principles whenever in the park or exploring the outdoors and prepare in advance for the conditions, check in with Adventure Smart for tips when exploring in the wild.
On the parks 108th Birthday we’d like to share 5 facts about this incredible place.
This area is the traditional territory of the Mowachaht and Muchalaht people of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. First Nations people crisscrossed the Island on well-worn trading routes for untold millennia. Their legends and cultural ties to the mountains are rich and deep.
Strathcona Provincial Park has 4 of the 5 tallest mountain peaks on Vancouver Island. In order;
Golden Hinde @ 7,208 ft
Elkhorn Mountain @ 7,198 ft
Mount Colonel Foster @ 7,001 ft
Mount Albert Edward @ 6,867 ft
While the Golden Hinde and Elkhorn Mountain hold the top spots for the entire Island Victoria Peak breaks into the ranks at 7,083 ft, while not located in the park, it is a formidable range worth noting.
The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot which dwells in the subalpine. **The Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) is one of the rarest mammals in the world. Due to recent recovery efforts, the population has increased from a low count in 2003 of less than 30 wild marmots living in a handful of colonies to an estimated 200 marmots on 28 mountains in 2016 (counted at hibernation). You can read more about efforts to save the marmot here.
*Info quoted from Marmot Recovery Foundation
The largest body of water in the park Buttle Lake, it is about 23 km long, 1.5 km wide, has an area of 28 sq km and is up to 120 meters (394 ft) deep, and lies at an elevation of 221 meters (725 ft). The lake is located between Campbell River and Gold River in Strathcona Provincial Park; here you can enjoy camping in designated sites on the shore. The lake was named after John Buttle, geologist and botanist from Kew Gardens, London, who mapped the area in 1865.
Strathcona Park is the largest park in on Vancouver Island it comprises 250,000 hectares of land. *Three roadless tracts within Strathcona Provincial Park – Big Den, Central Strathcona, and Comox Glacier–have been designated as nature conservancy areas. Each track contains outstanding examples of scenery and natural history that remain uninfluenced by human activity. The three areas, totalling 122,500 hectares, are dedicated to the preservation of the undisturbed natural environment.
While the park is the largest on the island, it is part of a much larger Provincial picture; British Columbia has over 700 national and provincial parks, plus many regional parks. Of the provincial parks, 175 offer camping facilities. To have Strathcona Park in our very backyard is an absolute treasure.
*Info from BC Parks