From hiking the highest point on the Gulf Islands, to discovering some of the 27 beach accesses available on Salt Spring, courtesy of right-of-ways established by MOTH (Ministry of Transportation and Highways), the recreational areas on The Big Island are as varied as the people. The parks and recreational areas have been preserved through the Provincial Government, joint Federal and Provincial initiative, and through regional and community parks. Here’s a sampling of what awaits you:
Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy, a joint venture between the Federal and Provincial governments.
Mill Farm, 95 hectares, acquired in 1997, protects a historic part of the island. It’s undeveloped, with outstanding views, and numerous flora and fauna.
Ruckle Provincial Park (Beaver Point)
This is one of everyone’s favourite parks, overlooking Swanson Channel. It’s a must visit for day visits or walk in camping near the ocean. Visitors and locals alike enjoy this park for coastal walks on 7 kilometers of shoreline, and for fishing, picnicking, or boating. Toilets, water, picnic tables, barbecues, beaches, beautiful views are all found here. There are 70 walk in sites and a few sites for RV vehicles.
Mt. Maxwell Provincial Park
This park gives hikers access to Baines Peak, the highest point on the Gulf Islands. Facilities include picnic tables, benches and toilets.
Community Parks (Parks, Arts & Recreation Commission.)
Mouat Park is located almost in Ganges and in a great location for exploring the community. Toilets, picnic tables, water are available.
Centennial Park, in central Ganges near the harbour is a busy and flourishing park, with a popular market held here from spring to fall. A day use area with seats, a children¹s playground, toilets and fruit trees.
Peter Arnell Park – A thirteen hectare park featuring walks and picnicking.
Musgrave Green Belt – A thirty five hectare undeveloped park suitable for rambling. Trails extend to the shoreline.
Mt. Erskine – This steep trail is found within a public park administered by the Islands’ Trust.
Duck Creek Community Park is a recent community park with an easy and well maintained trail for hikers of all levels.
Beaches: As there are so many beaches, shore trails, and beach accesses, we will list only a few of the more accessible ones here:
Vesuvius Beach, near the Crofton ferry dock, is one of Salt Spring’s most popular swimming beaches, reputed to have the warmest water on the island.
Fernwood Beach, with its government dock and expansive beach, faces Trincomali Channel.
Drummond Park is best known for its petroglyph, but this is a good children’s park too. The tidal flats here are good for paddling, and there are barbecues, toilets, picnic tables and a playground.