In the coming months you will find a series of articles in the MayneLiner, the Oystercatcher and on our website about treading lightly on Mayne Island. We’ll share ideas on how we can limit our environmental footprint while enjoying the natural wonders. In this first article, we provide an introduction to the various public parks on Mayne Island, who owns or manages them, and some recommendations on how to enjoy them while protecting the natural features we all value.
Here on Mayne Island we have three types of park run by three different levels of government. We have two federal properties that are part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, owned and operated by Parks Canada: Georgina Point Lighthouse and Bennett Bay. We have two regional parks, owned and operated by the Capital Regional District: Mt. Parke Regional Park and St. John Point Regional Park Reserve. There are also many community parks owned by the Capital Regional District, but operated by our local Mayne Island Parks and Recreation Commission: Henderson Park, Plumper Pass Community Park, Mary Jeffery Park, Cotton Park, Dinner Bay Park, Miner’s Bay Park, and more. Together, all the parks on Mayne Island add up to just 5.7% of Mayne Island by land area.
The remainder of Mayne Island is privately owned, First Nations reserve, or occupied by community assets such as roads, schools, and emergency services. The Mayne Island Conservancy does not own land or manage any parks. We do hold a nature covenant on what is now St. John Point Regional Park Reserve, and we work in close collaboration with all three levels of government to restore natural vegetation and manage invasive plants in most of the parks on Mayne Island. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers who contribute to the creation and maintenance of our amazing parks on Mayne Island!
Each park has its own rules of operation set by the government or committee that owns and manages it. While there is some variation in what visitors are allowed to do in each park, there are common practices on how we can enjoy them in a conscientious way. Without following some basic guidelines, we run the risk of destroying these natural areas through overuse. An excellent principle of park management is that the more people who visit, the greater the need to follow the rules to prevent harm to the park. Here are some ways to ensure we keep our parks natural and healthy:
- Stay on the trail. Soil compaction due to hiking is inevitable. Plants will not grow in compacted soils, and many of our native mosses and lichens die when stepped upon. We need to limit the impact of human foot traffic by staying on the designated trails. Much thought is given to selecting trail locations, and the Mayne Conservancy provides advice to park managing bodies on how to avoid damaging rare plants and sensitive ecosystems.
- Keep pets under control for the benefit of wildlife and other park users. Ground nesting songbirds and tired migratory birds resting on the shoreline are examples of wildlife that rely on these wild places to live. Please note dogs are required to be on-leash in some parks including Bennett Bay, Georgina Point, and St. John Point. There are no dogs allowed in Cotton Park.
- Leave no trace, take only pictures and memories. If you were alone in the wilderness, harvesting plants or taking natural souvenirs would be less of a problem, but our parks see a lot of traffic, so the best practice is to take nothing, leave nothing.
For further information on the various parks of Mayne Island, please follow the links below:
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve:
Mayne Island Community Parks Guide and Map – 2018 Edition