Posted by: cherylyoung | September 6, 2012

Vancouver Island is like the goodyear bunny, it just keeps giving and giving

 

 

Adjacent to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in the Bilston

 Creek Watershed, lies Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park,

a harmonious blend of protected natural

environments.

 

The park offers yet another perspective of the

coastline and a surprising variety of wildlife habitats.

 

Find a sturdy piece of driftwood and shelter from

 the constant breeze, which even in summer has a

fresh edge to it.

 

From this vantage point, you can look across the strait

to the towering heights of the Olympic Mountains in

Washington and its signature glaciated formation,

Hurricane Ridge.

The shallow beach makes for a pleasant warm-water swim

 after the tide rises over sun-heated rocks.

 

The first settlers in what is now Witty’s Lagoon

 Regional Park, were the Northern Straits Salish

People.

 

When Fort Victoria was established in 1843, members

 of the Ka-Kyaakan band were the sole inhabitants of

the area north of the spit.

 

They reef-netted salmon, gathered camas bulbs,

 berries and shellfish, and crafted baskets, canoes and

clothing.

 

 Shell middens reveal traces of their early habitation,

including their village site at the edge of the lagoon.

Within its 56-hectare, a network of trails winds

through a mixed Douglas-fir forest and around the

lagoon.

 

Running through the forest is Bilston Creek, its edges

laced with delicate Lady Fern.

 

Listen for the Orange-crowned Warblers, Dark-eyed

Juncos or the rattle call of the Belted Kingfisher flying

 high over the creek.

The creek tumbles toward “Sitting Lady Falls” which

spills over volcanic rock into the lagoon.

 

Beach trail passes a salt marsh, lined with gnarly Garry

oak and arbutus trees, and beyond leads onto a sandy

beach, perfects for swimming, sunbathing and

beachcombing.

 

A short trail leads to a small beach at Tower Point

where the ocean has hollowed tide pools in the

 granite outcropping.

A rich variety of marine life shelter in the pools and

stand revealed at low tide.

 

Bring your rubber boots.

 

You’ll also be rewarded with good views from here

 of aptly named Haystock Islands, where long, thick

strands of grass grow in the shape of old stooks.

 

Farther out in the strait are the Race Rocks, Canada’s

most southerly point on the west coast.

Hurricane Ridge predominates on the distant

southern horizon.

 

At low tide you can wade across from the point to the

long stretch of beach that fronts the lagoon; otherwise,

approach the beach from the Sitting Lady Falls

entrance on the road just south of Tower Point.

 

A short walk past the falls brings you to an intertidal

backwater, where the waters of Metchosin Creek

mingle with the Pacific, and then to the beach

 cluttered with driftwood, excellent for building

shelters from the cold wind while you bird-watch.

The park is a favourite spot for local birdwatchers, as

it is a natural resting place for migrating birds, such as

osprey, before they attempt the 21-km crossing of the

 Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Peninsula.

 

The quiet backwater lagoon, surrounded by Garry

oak and arbutus, is popular with seals, too.

 

In spring, the meadows above the lagoon contain a

brilliant array of wildflowers, including camas lilies,

saxifrage, and nodding onions.

 

The nature information centre has numerous

 displays on the lagoon’s natural and cultural history

 and enhances understanding of the plant and wildlife

 found in the park.

 

Interpretive programs are held throughout the year.

 

Facilities at the park entrance include parking, toilets

 and the Nature Information Centre.

 

A viewpoint and a picnic area are provided off the

Lagoon Trail at the edge of Witty’s lagoon.

 

Witty’s Lagoon is located on Metchosin Road in

Metchosin, 18 km from Victoria, off the Old Island

Highway (1A) and Sooke Road.

 

A short distance west of Witty’s Lagoon is

Devonian Regional Park, a small parcel of farmland

that now acts as a wildlife sanctuary, tucked into the

gently rolling landscape.

 

Despite the absence of marshland, many of the

migratory birds seen at Witty’s Lagoon also use

Devonian Park as a staging area, including sandpipers,

turnstones, and surfbirds, all of whom work the

 cobble beach for all it’s worth.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO

ALL MY AMERICAN FRIENDS

CHERYL C YOUNG,REALTOR

 

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

VICTORIA BC.  www.cherylyoung.ca

www.facebook.com/cherylcyoung

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