Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

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Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is composed of a diverse number of habitats over the 560 square kilometer (56 ha/138 acre) park. With five kilometers of woodland trails, a salt marsh, meadows, and a tidal lagoon this is a comprehensive nature appreciation park. Witty’s Lagoon Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Witty’s Lagoon is wheelchair-accessible and was created in 1969 then became a CRD park in 1986. Along with its diverse habitats is the flora and fauna that accompanies the various habitats. In spring, the open meadows above the lagoon contain a brilliant array of wildflowers including camas lilies, saxifrage, and nodding onions.  Witty’s Lagoon is a stopover for migrating birds such as osprey before they attempt the 13-mile (21-km) crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Peninsula. Other birds, such as the belted kingfisher, orange-crowned warbler, and dark-eyed junco overwinter in the shelter of the lagoon. Migratory birds that stop in the lagoon include sandpipers, turnstones, and surfbirds.   The Bilston Creek watershed forms the small valley and contains a soothing waterfall called Sitting Lady Falls. If you approach the beach at Witty’s Lagoon from the Sitting Lady Falls or main entrance, the waterfalls can be observed from several vantage points. The water from Bilston Creek spills through a cleft in the granite. The park has plenty of berry bushes in summer and apple trees in the autumn. The marshland is lined with Garry oak and arbutus trees. Stop at the information display to learn more about the natural history. There are several bridal trails in the park that are frequented by equestrians year round.

Tower Point is also part of Witty’s Lagoon Park but is separate by a tidal sandy beach area. 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 Haystack Islands, where long, thick strands of grass grow in the shape of old stacks. Harbor seals can be seen sunbathing just off shore from Rocky Bluff Trail on Tower point. Farther out in the strait are the Race Rocks, Canada’s most southerly point on the west coast. Hurricane Ridge in Washington States Olympic Mountains forms the plateau on the distant southern horizon.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 21” W123º 33’ 33”

Witty’s Lagoon 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 left onto Latoria Road and continue along to each Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road and look the parking area for Witty’s Lagoon across from the golf course.  Park near the nature house and the other which provides wheel chair access into the park. This is well-marked trailhead at Sitting Woman Falls is located opposite the Metchosin Golf Course.   Tower Point parking lot is near the junction of Olympic View Road and Bradene Road.Additional access points into the park have limited parking including along Metchosin Road, Duke Road, via the very long  staircase at the end of Witty Beach Road, Bradene Green Space and the end of Cliff Drive.

Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park

Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. The park is a chosen wildlife sanctuary with frequent sightings of swans, herons, and turkey vultures. Created from land donated by Genstar Limited in the later nineteen seventies, the park was named for the neighborhood in Metchosin. It is located on the southern end of Vancouver Island, the headland to the southwest of the park is called Albert Head; so named for Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, as a result of the survey in the eighteen forties by the captain and crew of the HMS Herald, a twenty six gun frigate.

The park is managed by the Capital Regional District. This seven hectare sanctuary provides a wonderful place for a respite from the traffic along Metchosin Road. A short thirty meter long trail along the berm of the lagoon connects with rough twenty meter long trail along the chain-link fence of the Department of National Defense property. The lagoon is good place to observe migratory and local birds as there is a trail along the slope of the hill. A panorama of the lagoon can be achieved from a short stroll along the fence line. This stroll takes you under some tall Douglas fir trees and garry oak trees with small shrubs such as salal and hardhack in the under growth. Several ferns are found along the lagoon and hill slope.  The views across the Juan de Fuca Strait and toward the Olympic Mountains are wonderful.  The lagoon is surrounded by aesthetic homes. North Latoria and Spruston Creek flow into the tidal lagoon from a small watershed area of three hundred and seventy-two hectares. River otters, seals and other small animals are seen this is area. This park is good place to launch a personal watercraft to explore the waterfront area. The Vancouver Island Steam Saw Mill operated near the lagoon for six years in the eighteen fifties. This company was founded by employees of the Hudson Bay Company. This is a good place to start a stroll along Albert Head Beach northward toward Royal Bay Beach Park and Esquimalt Lagoon Park in Colwood.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 44” W123º 29’ 19”

Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park is access from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit the highway onto the Old Island Highway into Colwood. Follow the Old Island Highway as it becomes Sooke Road. Turn left onto Metchosin Road and continue along Metchosin Road to reach Farhill Road. Turn left onto Farhill Road then right onto Lower Park Road. Follow Park Road as it curves to become Delgada Road. A small parking area is found at the bottom of the hill within Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park. City buses travel along Metchosin Road from which it is a four hundred meter stroll along roadways to reach the park.

Albert Head Beach

 

Albert Head Beach is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Located on the southern end of Vancouver Island, this cobble and sand beach lies along the west side of the Strait Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea.  The view to the east includes the skylines of Victoria and Oak Bay as well views the distance Cascade Mountain ranges. The Olympic Mountains can also be seen to the south. This beach forms the southern shore of Royal Bay. Lined by Douglas fir and garry oak trees amongst the landscaped acreages, the one and half kilometer stroll along the shoreline leads toward Royal Bay Beach Park. Another three kilometers further is Esquimalt Lagoon Park and the sandy beach that forms Colberg Peninsula in Colwood. The upland area and lagoon is part of the Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park. This neighborhood in Metchosin was named for Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, as a result of the survey in the eighteen forties by the captain and crew of the HMS Herald. The point of land to the immediate south is called Albert Head and has limited access as a seasonal training area for the Department of National Defense.   Migratory birds, river otters, seals and other small animals are often seen in this area.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 44” W123º 29’ 19”

Albert Head Beach is accessed from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit Hwy 1 onto the Old Island Highway to drive through the City of Colwood. Follow the curves of the Old Island Highway as it becomes Sooke Road. Turn left onto Metchosin Road. Continue along Metchosin Road to reach Farhill Road, which is just past the junction with Latoria Road and the open gravel site that forms the Royal Bay Community. Turn left onto Farhill Road then right onto Lower Park Road. Follow Lower Park Road as it curves sharply to become Delgada Road. A small parking area is found at the bottom of the hill within Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park. City buses travel along Metchosin Road from which it is about a four hundred meter downhill walk to reach the waterfront.

Bernard Park

This post is updated here.

http://walksinyourbackyard.com/2019/04/06/bernard-park