New regional park with overnight camping on the way for Bowen Island
A new regional park complete with overnight camping areas is on the way to beautiful Bowen Island, according to information released by Metro Vancouver.
According to the plan, a forested and waterfront property at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island will be preserved as a new regional park that will incorporate both day use and overnight camping areas.
"Regional parks safeguard natural areas that are home to important ecosystems and contribute to the health and well-being of our residents by connecting them with natural spaces," said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of Metro Vancouver's Board of Directors. "Expanding the regional parks system is a Board priority and supports climate action and regional growth targets."
Metro Vancouver has a conditional agreement to purchase 24 parcels of land on the southwest tip of the island, totalling 97 hectares that would make up the new park, for approximately $40 million. According to a press release, the purchase agreement is in effect until spring 2023 while Metro Vancouver looks for other funding partners to help acquire and develop the regional park.
According to Metro Vancouver, the park is located within Skwxwú7mesh úxwumixw/Squamish Nation territory. Discussions are underway with Skwxwú7mesh úxwumixw/Squamish Nation about opportunities to collaborate on the new regional park.
"This regional park will make it easier for current and future generations to enjoy nature and help to preserve the coastal ecosystem, which Squamish Nation has stewarded since time immemorial," said Skwxwú7mesh úxwumixw/Squamish Nation spokesperson and Councillor Sxwíxwtn. "We look forward to working in partnership with Metro Vancouver and Bowen Island Municipality to see how we can incorporate our language and culture in the park planning process."
The preliminary concept for the park includes day-use picnic areas, trails with impressive viewpoints, access to the beach, and a supervised overnight camping area with three group camps, and around 50 walk-in/bike-in tent sites, 35 accessible drive-in tent sites, and 10 tent cabins. Recreational vehicle and trailer camping will not be permitted.
"I am beyond thrilled to see the potential for a new regional park that will protect public access to spectacular coastal forest and beach landscapes for generations to come," said John McEwen, chair of Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Committee. "With Metro Vancouver poised to welcome one million more residents in the next 30 years, and a significant increase in regional park visitation over the last two years, Cape Roger Curtis is a unique opportunity to help ensure all residents have access to regional parks."
The park will be adjacent to Crown land which includes the headwaters of Huszar Creek and Fairy Fen Nature Reserve, which is owned by the Islands Trust Conservancy and managed by Bowen Island Conservancy, and the Wild Coast Nature Refuge, managed by the Bowen Island Conservancy. The park is also within the Átl'ka7tsem/Howe Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
"This new regional park initiative is incredible news, not just for Bowen Island, but for the entire region," said Gary Ander, mayor of Bowen Island Municipality. "Cape Roger Curtis holds some of the most unique ecological characteristics in the region — and this park enhances local efforts by the Bowen Island Conservancy and many islanders to protect the area. It will provide excellent recreational and educational opportunities for island and regional residents alike for years to come. The municipality looks forward to working with Metro Vancouver on this exciting initiative."