Established in 1963. Named after the troopship “Birkenhead” which sank off the Cape of Good Hope after striking a rock.
Birkenhead Lake Park’s geographic location affects its climate. It lies in the transition zone between the wet coast and the dry interior. These conditions provide a diverse range of plants and animal species here.
Moisture-laden air coming from the coast is pushed higher and higher into the Coast Mountains. Cooling as it rises, the moisture in the air becomes rain, or snow in the winter.
When the air passes over the crest of the Coast Mountains, it warms up. Having lost most of its moisture on the coastal side of the mountains, it is much drier as it descends into the interior valleys. The average rainfall in communities near Birkenhead Lake demonstrates this phenomenon. Pemberton, on the wet side, gets an average of 92cm, whereas Lillooet, just a bit further inland, gets an average of 29cm of precipitation per year.
One of the mandates of BC Parks is to preserve representative areas of different forest types. A walk along the trail to the wilderness campsite on the northwest side of the lake will take you through some wonderful old-growth forest. Here there is a mix of tree species: Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, cottonwood, and Engelmann spruce.
A mixed stand with a wide range of age classes, from seedlings, old giants, to dead and dying trees, provides the best habitat for many species of plants and animals.
When a large tree falls in the forest, it not only provides habitat and food for many animals, it also allows more light to reach the forest floor. Young trees and a wide range of other plants will grow in the new opening. Flowers, trees, and shrubs are part of the park's natural heritage, please don't damage or remove them.
Watch for moose, blue herons, grouse, snowshoe hare, osprey, deer, and mountain goats. Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife.