Matheson Lake Regional Park

Matheson Lake Regional Park is partly within the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia.  Matheson Lake Regional Park is 1620 square km area that became a Capital Regional District park in 1993 when it was acquired from the province of British Columbia.  The lake is surrounded by trails with some excellent views over the lake and surrounding areas.  The Galloping Goose Trail –Metchosin passes by the lake shore on its north side; there is access to the parking lot and toilet facilities near the eastern end of the lake.

Matheson Lake Park is bordered by Roche Cove Regional Park on the west border and there is a pathway that follows the course of Wildwood Creek to the ocean. Wildwood Creek forms in the wetlands of the surrounding hills and enters Matheson Lake on its eastern end. Wildwood watershed covers about seven hundred and sixty nine hectares. with about three percent of the watershed covered by impervious surfaces.

The parkland is composed of young trees as most harvestable trees were removed in the early nineteen hundreds. That said, there are several large old trees to admire for their tenacity and resilience. Hemlock, cedar, Douglas fir compose more of the main slopes of the lake shore while big leaf maples and cottonwood fill in the new growth. The lake is a pleasant paddling destination for those seeking a serene, cloistered environment. There is a small island in the land to circumnavigate. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the beach, where hand-carried boats may be launched. Launch your canoe, kayak or paddle board to explore the small indentations and island that characterize the lake. The park has wonderful excellent swimming areas and hiking trails.

A trail from the park leads rough southward up to Caines Way. This is a very steep slope route that ascends about one hundred meters along its three kilometer course. This route connects through Roche Cove Regional Park and eventually leads to Mount Matheson. With an elevation of 267 meters, Mount Matheson is located outside the perimeter of Metchosin in the community of East Sooke.

Trails along the north side of the park connect with the Galloping Goose Trail from Metchosin and include La Bonne Trail, La Bonne-Matheson Lake Trail, Wayne’s Rock Trail, Wildwood Creek Trail, Bob Mountain Park.

Geographical location N48º 21’ 37” W123º 35’ 40”

Matheson Lake Regional Park can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn right onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road then right onto Rocky Point Road. Matheson Lake Road will be on the right just past the sign that indicate a parking area for the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin.

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Price Road Green Space

Price Bay GS 3 Price Bay GS 7

The Town of View Royal, BC, has some unique waterfront beach accesses with views of forested areas, watery reefs and the Olympic Mountains of Washington State in the distance. This is one of those amazing places although the view changes considerable depending on the tide. Price Bay is a shallow bay that forms a shallow estuary for Millstream Creek. The bay is part of Esquimalt Harbour. The pathway includes two sets of ten concrete staircases that lead from the roadside leads to the muddy beach. The route passes a pump station. It would be possible to launch a kayak, paddle board or personal water craft when the tide is high. A stroll along the beach about fifty meters to the left leads to Price Bay Park. Duckrill Road Green Space and Waters Edge Walkway are nearby.

Geographical location N48° 27’ 30” W123° 27’ 19”

Price Road Green Space can be accessed from the Trans Canada Highway, Hwy1. Exit onto the Island Highway and stay to the left to merge with traffic going under the freeway and railway overpasses. Turn to the left onto Price Road, the very first left turn. If you miss that one take the next left onto Duckrill Road and double back. The green space is at the end of the road. There is limited roadside parking. City buses travel along the Island Highway.

Portage Park

Portage Park Richards Island Thetis Cove

Enjoy a stroll through an urban Douglas fir and Garry oak forest to see the inspiring views of Richards Island, Fisgard Lighthouse and the distant Olympic Mountains in Washington State in Portage Regional Park, View Royal, B.C. This park lies along the north shore of Esquimalt Harbour and is along the portage route between the harbour and the Gorge Waterway. The portage route encompasses several roadways although the distance is about six hundred meters from shore to shore. This six point two hectare community park is bordered by residential homes and businesses on its east and west sides while the northern perimeter is formed by the Island Highway. Thetis Cove beach and Esquimalt Harbour are on the south side.

 

The CRD Rail Trail lies beside the VIA rail tracks and divides the park into an eastern and western portion. The western side of park is larger and has the majority of the trails as well as the playground and beach. The pedestrian pathways form about two kilometers of trails through the Douglas fir, Garry oak and woodland shrub forest. Enjoy the thimbleberry, blackberry and snowberry bushes as well as salal, ferns and mosses. Many bird species use this parkland as well including great blue heron, turkey vultures, common ravens, northwest crows and northern flickers. This makes it a popular place for local birders as well as dog walkers, hikers and those who enjoy a stroll in the urban forest. Richards Island is part of the parkland and is accessible by private vessels, like kayak, paddleboards or canoes. There are shallow rocky reefs around this island that has small Garry oak and Douglas fir trees. Thetis Cove has an average depth of about a meter with the deepest water along the western side of the cove near Dyke Point.

 

The partial paved and gravel trail to the beach starts near the town hall building and is about one hundred and seventy meters. The washrooms are also near here. There is a flight of about twelve steps down to the dirt and wood chip trail which branches south to the Thetis Cove beach and east toward the Rail Trail. The beach trail crosses over an ephemeral stream during its one hundred meter length. Thetis Cove beach is a mud flat beach area and is best accessed at higher tides. The eastern woodland trail also has some with steep stairs that makes wheelchair access difficult although the Rail Trail can be used with relative ease. A fire hydrant in the forest marks the junction of the trail which branches to the beach and to the Island Highway. There are benches and picnic tables in several locations in the parkland.   A shell midden was revealed by a seasonal storm several years ago. A sign marks this location where the organic debris may depict over five thousand years of periodic usage by humans. Thetis Cove beach, at low tide, is a mud flat with a few small areas of fine sand. A secondary access directly to the mud beach is from Thetis Cove Green Space using a steep fifty meter long trail. This green space is found along View Royal Road between homes 101 and 95.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 06” W123° 26’ 1”

 

Portage Regional Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway also called Hwy 1. Turn south onto Admirals Road at the McKenzie Avenue-Admirals Road junction. Continue along Admirals Road across the bridge over the Gorge Waterway. Turn right onto the Island Highway and pass under the railway bridge and take the next left onto View Royal Avenue. The Four-Mile Pub and Restaurant is located at this intersection. The main entrance and parking area for this park is on the west near the View Royal Town Office on View Royal Avenue. Additional routes in the park are from along the Island Highway and from the CRD Rail Trail. The eastern side is accessible from Glentana Street near Ethos Place, Falstaff Place, Aldersmith Place and Hallowell Road. City buses travel along the Island Highway and View Royal Avenue.

 

Several documents have been produced for the Town of View Royal about this park and provide a worthwhile read.

Helmcken Centennial Park

Helmcken Centennial Park 7 Helmcken Centennial Park 10

Helmcken Park is known as the ball park for fastball and home to the View Royal Fastball teams. This is community athletic park as well as a wonderful family and toddler friendly park in View Royal, B.C. Helmcken Centennial Park has three fenced fastball diamonds, a basketball or multi-purpose court and a tennis court in its two and half hectares. There is also a batting cage and storage shed. The park borders on an indentation of Portage Inlet which is a migratory bird and wildlife area. This tidal area also has a ephemeral creek that drains from the surrounding area. Signage near the White Pine pathway describes the colonial activities on Portage Inlet and the Gorge Water front. This would be an okay site to launch a paddle board, kayak or canoe at high tide as the wetland area can be wide.  The playground has slides, swings, a long tube and climbing apparatus on a gravel base for children of all ages. This is good place for parkour. There is a seasonal concession, a meeting room and toilets in a building that is maintained by the ball team. Native plants along the shore of Portage Inlet include snow berries and rose plants as well as several different grasses to help maintain the integrity of the tidal wetlands. White Pine Road Green Space has a footpath into the park from Werra Road. The green spaces at Stillwater Road, Seabird Place, Thomas Park Drive, Polly Place, Crane Place and Tidewater Road are nearby.

 

Geographical location N48° 27’ 42” W123° 25’ 48”

 

Helmcken Centennial Park can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway Hwy1. Exit off Hwy1 onto the Helmcken Road and turn south. Victoria General Hospital is to the north along Helmcken Road. At the traffic circle, exit east toward Helmcken Park and Kingham Place. Stay on Kingham Place to reach the small parking lot beside the park. A second parking area is accessed from further along Helmcken Road closer to the buildings. City busses service the Helmcken Park and Ride parking area near Helmcken Road.

St. Giles Easement Green Space

St Gilles Easement  1

A long narrow grass covered area between two properties forms the green space of St Giles Street in View Royal, B.C. This four hundred square meter area borders along Portage Inlet and provides access to the water. It would be a good site to launch a kayak, paddle board or canoe to explore this wide inlet. There is a bench near the shoreline which is shaded by a large arbutus tree. The east side of the park is bordered by a wooden fence along the property line while the west side has a partial cedar tree hedge and various shrubs along its property line. This is a good place to get outdoors in your backyard.

Geographic location N48° 27’ 44” W123° 25’ 38”

St Giles Easement can be reached from the Trans Canada Highway, Way1. Take exit #8 onto Helmcken Avenue and head south. At the traffic circle continue around to exit near Helmcken Park and the Park and Ride parking lot. Continue onto Kingham Place then take the first left onto St. Giles Street South. The park is in the cul-de-sac turnabout on Chancellor Avenue. The road continues to Portage Inlet Linear Park which is at the end of St. Giles Street South. City buses stop at the Park and Ride near Helmcken Avenue.

 

Rice Mill Landing Park, Victoria, B.C.

Rice Mill landing (Capital Iron) upper harbour

The Rice Mill Landing Park has scenic lookout point with wonderful views of the upper harbour of Victoria, B.C. This small area is primarily used by patrons of Ocean River Sport and Capital Iron stores yet there is a harbour ferry dock at the small marina in The Design District. There is an arbour sheltering a bench near the end of the wharf. Another bench is set up under an arbutus tree near the kayak storage racks. Black berry bushes cling to the shoreline. A huge metal funnel and other pieces of ships can be seen at this park, perhaps remnants from the iron salvage operations. The wreck of the Green whaling ship can be seen just below the wharf during low tide. This park is along the David Foster Way, a five kilometer harbour walk from Barclay Point to Odgen Point. The proposed Barclay Point Park is to the north. Central Park and Royal Athletic Park is to the east, about five blocks. The Canoe Club Boardwalk is to the south.

Geographic coordinates N48° 25′ 51” W123° 22′ 17″

Rice Mill Landing Park can be reached Blanchard Street. Turn right at Discovery Street and continue to the end of the road past Store Street, which is also called Wharf Street. The park is accessed from the lower parking lot for the Capital Iron and Ocean River Sport stores. There is limited parking in this parking lot or along Wharf Street. City buses travel along Douglas Street in this part of downtown Victoria, B.C.

Ross Bay Seawalk

Ross Bay eastern shore 3

Come to Ross Bay to enjoy a wonderful seaside walk along Dallas Road. This is also a spectacular place to see storm waves crash along the beach or, in May of each year, watch the sailing yachts start the Swiftsure Yacht Race. With the choice of strolling over cobble beach stones, beached logs or along a concrete sidewalk, this seawalk suits just about everyone’s mobility. Located between St Charles Street and Memorial Crescent, the six hundred and twenty meter seawalk is right along the shoreline of Ross Bay. The trail is part of the seawall that protects the shores of Fairfield and Ross Bay Cemetery. The wide concrete seawall, built by nineteen fifteen, was redesigned with the addition of the large cobble stones and three long granite boulder groyns to diminish the flow of water along the beach. These projections can be seen along the shoreline at low tides. About fifty years early, in the mid eighteen hundreds, both East Creek and South Fairfield Creek drained into the bay. These creeks would have added small sediment to the waters and replenished some of the beach area. Along the upper areas of the beach. look for beach lupine, a low sprawling pea plant, gum weed^, a yellow flowering aster, and beach grass; plants that help to stabilize the shoreline. The views across the Salish Sea and Strait of Juan de Fuca toward the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, USA, are wonderful. Named for Isabelle Mainville Ross, Ross Bay and part of the cemetery were once her farm land. Ross Bay Cemetery is an interesting place to extend your walk for both the gardenlike setting of the grounds as well as the unique grave stones and monuments. If the winds are light, this area can be used to launch a kayak or paddle board, although the tidal currents are worth paying attention too.

 

Geographic coordinates N48° 24′ 32” W123° 20′ 39″

Ross Bay Seawalk can be reached from Blanchard Street. Turn east onto Fairfield Road and follow along to Memorial Crescent. Turn right onto Memorial Crescent and then turn right at Dallas Road. There is limited roadside parking along Dallas Road near this intersection. The walkway is to the east and Clover Point Park is to the west. City buses travel along Fairfield Road from downtown Victoria.

^http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/potd/2009/01/grindelia_integrifolia.php (this plant looks like a dandelion)