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.

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Tower Point Regional Park

 

Tower Point Regional Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This park is part of the Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park that it is connected only at low tides from the sandy beach of Parry Bay. The estuary of Biltson Creek is a natural division between the two areas. There are views to the south and east ocean area called the Strait of Juan de Fuca and snow covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA. Tower Point Park has a one kilometer walking trail along its perimeter with a variety of viewpoints. The gravel and grass covered trail from the parking lot is bordered by Himalayan blackberry bushes with the occasional garter snake. The pathway leads to an open meadow field with a selection of trails to explore the area. Head to the immediate left (eastward) to take tour of the rocky shoreline of Tower Point. The pathway leads to the Douglas fir and garry oak trees that border the shoreline. The rocky shore line is formed from pillow lava exposures. These pillow basalts are echoed on the nearby islets to the east and south. Arbutus trees and smaller shrub like snow berries, oceanspray and hardhack are seen along the shoreline as well.  This section of the park has picnic tables and benches in few places. The toilets are in the forest grove.  Bradene Green Space is nearby.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 13” W123º 30’ 29”

Tower Point Regional Park can be reached from the TransCanada 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 Duke Road. Follow Duke Road to the junction with Olympic View Drive. Turn onto Olympic View Drive and look for the parking area on the left. The trail is across the grass area. City buses travel along Metchosin Road.