Meaning ‘Calm Waters’ in the Coast Salish language, Mitlenatch is a small rocky island in the Strait of Georgia. The largest seabird colony in the strait, this nature reserve is an important nesting colony for thousands of Glaucous-winged Gulls, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets and many other species of birds. Marine life around the island includes River Otters and Harbour Seals throughout the year, and Steller’s and California Sea Lions from late autumn through to early May.
Visit in spring when the island’s meadows of wildflowers are in bloom, or in July when the harvest brodia and coastal cactus bloom in the semi-arid conditions caused by Mitlenatch’s location in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park (155 hectares) offers excellent opportunities to observe and photograph wildflowers and birds. Birders should approach observation blinds slowly and quietly. Mitlenatch Island is a very sensitive ecosystem that is extremely prone to damage by visitors who venture off the designated trails. No animals allowed.
Facilities are basic; picnic table and pit toilet. The island has no docking facilities, requiring boaters to anchor in the temporary calm-weather anchorages of Northwest Bay and Camp Bay on the south side of the island. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy fishing, swimming and exploring the hiking trails.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park is located 12.5 miles (20 km) offshore from Campbell River, in the middle of the Strait of Georgia, which separates Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. Access to Mitlenatch Island is by boat only, from Campbell River or Comox on Vancouver Island, or from Powell River on the BC Sunshine Coast.
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