Posted by: cherylyoung | March 26, 2012

Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island is

Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island is

 one of the most beautiful parks in B.C

Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island is one of the

most beautiful parks in the Southern Gulf Islands,

and incorporates the largest provincial campground

in the Gulf Islands.


Ruckle Park features beautiful ocean views from the

day-use area and along the trails, as well as scenic

pastoral views of the neighbouring farm.


In addition to its natural beauty, Ruckle Park is an

area rich in cultural history.


Henry Ruckle emigrated from Ireland to Ontario,

then  California, before finally homesteading on

Saltspring Island in 1872.

Their descendants have farmed the Saltspring property

for more than a century and, although they donated

most of their property to the province for a park in 1974,

the Ruckle family still raises sheep on private land near

the entrance to the campground.

Continuous use of this land for farming purposes from

the 1890s until today makes the Ruckle Farm the oldest

continually operating farm in British Columbia.


The heritage farm features a number of old farm

buildings,  including a barn, a forge, the old pig sty,

and the original homestead residence.


The big orchard barn has open access, with the

schedule posted at the site.


Other buildings are available for viewing from the

outside only – visitors are not permitted inside.

The old homestead was built by Henry Ruckle prior to

bringing his bride and her son Alfred to the farm in 1877.


Their three children, Ella, Agnes, and Daniel Henry,

were all born there.


In 1931, Gordon Ruckle, grandson of Henry and Ella,

inherited the house and lived in it with his wife, Lotus,

and their children, Gwen and Henry.


In 1967, shortly after electricity was installed, they

moved  to the Queen Anne house near the ark entrance.

With its seven kilometres of shoreline, rocky headlands

and tiny coves and bays, 486-hectare Ruckle Park

provides hours or even days of enjoyable exploration.


A mixture of forest, field and shore habitats makes it

one of the most productive wildlife viewing areas on

Saltspring Island.


On shore, birdwatchers can often catch sight of

cormorants, grebes, guillemots, eagles, owls, grouse

or quail.


Deer are frequently sighted, particulary at dawn

and dusk.


Watch for sea lions and killer whales out in the sea, and

mink and river otter cavorting along the shoreline.

Tidal pools are filled with a brightly-coloured world

of crab, mussel, limpet, oyster, sculpin, and starfish,

and strong tidal currents create the environment for

rich  kelp forests offshore.


Kelp forests are important feeding areas for fish and

attract many birds and mammals.


Scuba divers frequent the waters off Ruckle Park,

drifting among the castle-like caves or floating above

the bountiful ocean floor, where they will find a

profusion of Plumose anemones, sponges, nudibranches,

octopi, seastars and giant barnacles.

Beaver Point, with a rich subtidal fauna, is popula

Beaver Point used to be the island’s oldest link with

the outside world.


Beaver Point Wharf was built by Henry Ruckle so that

Beaver Point pioneers could have easier contact with

Vancouver Island.


Before the steamer service began in 1889, Saltspring

Islanders had to row to Vancouver Island for supplies.


By 1900, there were six sailings per week, including

two mail deliveries.


The government purchased Mr. Ruckle’s wharf in 1904

for $400, rebuilt it in 1910, and then again in 1925.


An extensive trail system exists at Ruckle Park, with

more than 15 kilometres of hiking and walking trails.


A shoreline trail runs from the heritage farm area

right through to Yeo Point, along with other inland

trail routes that range from easy walks to more

difficult hikes.

Detailed park trail maps are located at information

shelters and convenient points along the trails.


There are 78 walk-in seaside campsites.


Campers can pitch their tent in the grassy meadow

overlooking Swanson Channel, then lie back and relax,

watching pleasure boats and ferries sail by in a stately

and colourful parade.


The park features an interesting blend of easily reached

sites in a wooded setting, with North Pender Island on

the far shore.


The walk-in campsites are accessible over level ground

from the parking lot.

The distance varies based on the site selected, ranging

from 3 minutes to double for the farthest sites.

There are 8 vehicle accessible sites.


The RV sites are nestled amongst trees and are

comparable with those provided in all BC provincial

parks, but they don’t provide the open-air ambience,

fresh breezes, and fabulous a day-use picnic area.


Continue straight on the main park road past the

campground  turnoff to the day-use parking lot.


Rum runners were known to frequent the area in and

around the park in the nineteen twenties to hide their

contraband as they tried to smuggle it across the

US border into the San Juan Islands.


Ruckle Provincial Park is located on Saltspring Island

in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, 6miles

(10 km) west of Fulford Harbour at the end of Beaver

Point Road.


Back packers and outdoor enthusiasts who arrive on

the  island normally hike or cycle the route from the

ferry  terminal to the park.


BC Ferries run several services throughout the year to

Saltspring Island from Vancouver (Tsawwassen),

Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Crofton on Vancouver Island.








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