Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Roesland, North Pender Island
Roesland, North Pender Island

Off the southern coast of British Columbia, adjacent to the Strait of Georgia, is a collection of islands, islets and reefs with rocky shorelines and steep headlands. Known as the Southern Gulf Islands, these islands are blessed by Canada’s only Mediterranean-type climate—warm and dry in the summer and mild and wet in the winter. About 15 of these islands and over 30 smaller islets comprise the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Established in 2003 by Parks Canada, the Gulf Islands National Park was formed to protect the area’s unique ecosystem, which is rich with ecologically diverse plants and sea-life including: gnarled Garry oaks, delicate wild lilies, thick kelp beds and magnificent Orca whales.

In waterfront areas, the park’s protection extends 200 meters into the sea. The Gulf Islands are also home to 15 endangered species, 10 threatened species and 13 species of special concern. These species include: butterflies, shellfish, ferns and killer whales.

Russell Island, British Columbia, Canada
Russell Island, British Columbia, Canada

All of the larger islands share a similar past. They were inhabited by semi-nomadic First Nations people and settled by Europeans in the-mid 1800s. In the 1900s, the islands were known for bountiful fruit production. Today this area is a beautiful place to explore. The park areas on the larger islands (Saturna Island, Mayne Island and North Pender and South Pender Island) are accessible by BC Ferries, while the others areas can only be reached by water taxi, private boat or kayak.

Once you arrive, there are many unique landscape features and plants to explore. You can enjoy scenic touring, boating, kayaking, diving, hiking, camping and fishing. Services throughout the islands vary. Some of the islands offer water and pit toilets, while others permit no camping at all – so do your research before you set out.


Walking at Sidney Spit

Walking on the sand at Sidney Spit

Summer is finally here so the lucky folks that can either boat to Sidney Spit or take the Alpine Group Ferry should have a...
Arbutus tree (Arbutus menziesii), Russell Island, British Columbia, Canada

Russell Island is a boating paradise

If you're fortunate enough to be exploring the Gulf Islands National Park by boat a visit to Russell Island is a must. Located just...
Anchored in Princess Bay, Portland Island

At anchor in Princess Bay, Portland Island

The view from a few hours ago in Princess Bay, Portland Island. Calm seas, warm weather and many happy boaters in the Gulf Islands...
James Bay, Prevost Island anchorage

Anchorage at James Bay, Prevost Island

One of the quieter anchorages in the Gulf Islands National Park is James Bay on Prevost Island. I expect this is partly due to...
An Arbutus tree hanging over the waters edge on Roe Islet at Roesland in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada, North Pender Island, BC

Arbutus trees at Roesland, North Pender Island

The Gulf Islands National Park area at Roesland on North Pender Island has some amazing arbutus trees (madrona trees for our friends down south)...