The more than 200 islands that make up the Gulf Islands are well represented by parklands. Fortunately this ongoing acquisition will help to protect the flora and fauna of these ever popular islands, squeezed between the rapidly growing communities of Vancouver on the Lower Mainland and Victoria on Vancouver Island. The parks are varied: from provincial parks with campsites on Salt Spring, the Penders, and Galiano to day parks on Saturna, Salt Spring and Gabriola. Several marine parks are found on the main islands as well as on islands accessible only by boat. With the addition of passenger only ferries during the season, a few extensive marine parks have become popular summer destinations for campers or day trippers .
Ecological Reserves further protect endangered habitants and wildlife such as Medicine Beach on North Pender Island, preserving one of the last remaining wetlands found in the islands, and recently acquired Matthews Point on Galiano Island. More than ten areas on other islands protect endangered plants, Douglas Fir forests, sea birds, Arbutus and marine life.
Add to this the extensive parkland acquired in the last few years for the Gulf Islands National Park Rerserve of Canada. Thousands of hectares of undeveloped forest and beach have helped preserve some of the Gulf Islands’ most pristine areas: Roesland on North Pender, Narvaez Bay on Saturna, Tumbo Island, and several others. This Legacy continues to create national parklands, which now stand at 16 with a total of 1,736 hectares in the Gulf Islands.
Finally, the islands all have public beach accesses shown on local maps which ensure that on sunny days cyclists, pedestrians and motorists can take a relaxing break on the beaches.