Posted on September 12, 2012
Island Profile: Seal Bay Nature Park
Located on a back country road between the Town of Comox and the Old Island Highway, Seal Bay Nature Park is incredibly popular with area residents. However, it tends to be one of those places that, though you may often drive by it, finding the time to actually stop seems impossible.
This past weekend, my leaf-loving niece insisted we venture into the woods to one of her favourite spots. After a quick breakfast, she and I made our way to Seal Bay Nature Park with her dad and her Uncle J. After all, I can’t say “no” to that munchkin grin!
Divided by Bates Road in Comox, Seal Bay Nature Park is one-and-a-half times the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, covering over 1,600 acres. Called Xwee Xwhy Luq by the K’ómoks First Nation, the park’s name means “a place of serenity and beauty”. I don’t think a more fitting name could be bestowed upon the park.
In 1970, the Comox Natural History Society stumbled across the park and quickly thought to preserve this lush forest of over-sized ferns, Douglas fir trees, and expansive bluffs overlooking the Georgia Strait. After more than four years of lobbying the government, the park was designated as a protected park under the Crown in 1975.
Since that time, the park has become a popular, year-round spot for walking dogs, peddling bikes and even riding horses. Various trails through the park wind around marshes, alongside of ravines and some taper towards the shoreline.
Resisting the call of the ocean is near-impossible, and naturally we all found ourselves at the rocky seaside. While there’s no sand to stretch out on, turning over large stones and gently hunting for crabs is fun for three-year-olds and for 30-year-olds. When at the shore, keep your eyes open for harbour seals bobbing their heads in the bay.
While it’s easy to stay for a whole day, Seal Bay Nature Park can be a quick stop for a breath of fresh air and a little bit of grounding. Should you choose to visit, please remember not to harm the flora, fauna or wildlife – it’s not uncommon to come across deer, birds and even cougars or bears.
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