French Beach Provincial Park Vancouver Island British Columbia

 

French Beach Provincial Park Vancouver Island British Columbia

French Beach Provincial Park Vancouver Island British Columbia

French Beach Provincial Park Vancouver Island British Columbia

French Beach Provincial Park
Victoria - Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC

This 59 hectare park along the spectacular Strait of Juan de Fuca offers beautiful trails, whale watching, secluded campsites and waterfront picnic areas.

Park History

Imagine loving to travel so much, you would walk across Canada! Imagine falling through the ice in the Northwest Territories, losing to frostbite all the toes off one foot and the heel of your other, thanking aboriginal knowledge that you did not lose more! Imagine not stopping there, traveling by boat and canoe down the Bulkley Valley to Vancouver, and then paddling around Vancouver Island to find your future home!

It took pioneer James French two adventurous years to travel from New Brunswick to Victoria. He pre - empted the land west of Sooke in 1885. French was an early naturalist, traveling the world to bring exotic animals to zoos for public enjoyment and education. After an expedition to Africa, French once brought home a small elephant shortly before selling it to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

French died in 1952, survived by his family who continued to live on the property and play an active part in local logging. French had hoped that a much larger section of the west coast of Vancouver Island would be made into a provincial park. His home and favourite beach would become French Beach Provincial Park in 1974...twenty years later, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park would further his dream.

French Beach lies within the traditional territory of the T’Sou-ke First Nation. Their economy was based on hunting, fishing, and gathering, extended families among the Straits people owned the lands and resources which could not be sold but inherited.

Natural History

Situated on the straits of Juan de Fuca. This 59 hectare park is situated on the Strait of Juan de Fuca 5 km east of Jordan River. Beautiful hiking trails lead you through second growth forest of Douglas fir, Ditka spruce, western hemlock and western red cedar to the beach. You will also find salal, Oregon grape, and evergreen huckleberries, and a large variety of ferns along the trails.

Once on the beach, there are excellent whale watching opportunities. These magnificent animals migrate to northern feeding grounds in the spring and return south in the fall.

French Beach is also an excellent location to observe seabirds, bald eagles, and ospreys. Otters, seals, and sea lions can also be seen playing offshore.

French Beach is located near the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula rain shadow and receives more precipitation than Victoria but much less than areas to the northwest such as Port Renfrew or Bamfield.

Watch the Ocean

Killer Whales and Grey Whales have often been observed swimming past the beach or feeding just off the points. The best time to see Grey Whales is during their migration from the Mexican coast to Alaska during March and April. Both California and Northern Sealions can be found here from late August through May. Harbour Seals are often seen offshore, they can be recognized by their basketball-shaped heads bobbing at the surface.

All information reprinted from BC Parks materials with permission

A great pied a terre for South Vancouver Island

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French Beach Provincial Park Vancouver Island British Columbia

 

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