The forests of Francis/King Regional Park are over 10,000 years old; the rocky hills – millions of years old!
This 91-hectare park, nestled in the rolling farmland of Saanich, north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, has sheltered generations of people in the past. First the Coast Salish People, then the early pioneers, and now the visitors to this beautiful park.
The forests and open spaces in Francis/King Park provided food and shelter to the Saanich people of the Coast Salish Nation, and inspired their rich culture. These First Peoples harvested plants such as Horsetail sprouts, Camas bulbs and Salal berries. Some they ate raw, others they steam-cooked, mashed or roasted. Berries were often dried into cakes to last the winter.
Saanich Elders knew which plants had healing properties. Licorice fern was used for stomach troubles and Snowberry fruit for salves. The Saanich took only the wood they needed from the giant cedar forest – for canoes, clothing, household wares and ceremonial objects.
The 550-metre boardwalk of the Elsie King Trail brings people with limited mobility and agility into the magic of this woodland park – and closer to nature. Stop at the Nature House for the displays of plants and animals found in the park.
Take a walk to the tall trees. In the dense forest, dark columns rise through the canopy overhead. Wrap your arms around a tree three metres thick, lean back to check the height: 75 metres. These magnificent Douglas-fir trees, approximately 500 years old, are some of the tallest in the region. You’ll discover the majesty of the forest in this small grove.
Facilities include a picnic area and toilets.
The beautiful Francis/King Regional Park is located on Munn Road in Saanich, 8 miles (13 km) west of downtown Victoria. Access to the park is via Burnside West Road off the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1).
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