The Pacific WildLife Foundation partnered with BC Parks and the Mitlenatch Island Stewardship Team (MIST) to create this captivating and informative short video about Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park. Shot and edited by Mike McKinlay and narrated by MIST volunteer Kate Rubin.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park is home to the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia. All sedentary marine life, including abalones, scallops and sea cucumbers, are fully protected within the park’s boundaries, which extend 300 metres out from the shore. This nature reserve is an important nesting colony for thousands of Glaucous-winged Gulls, as well as Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers 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 fall through to summer.
Mitlenatch, which means “calm waters all around” in the Coast Salish language, is a small rocky island that features semi-arid conditions caused by the island’s location in the “rain shadow” of Vancouver Island. The park receives less than 75 cm (30 inches) of rain each year – about half the Campbell River average. Rain-bearing clouds pass eastward from the Pacific Ocean and drop much of their moisture on Vancouver Island. As they descend across the Strait of Georgia, they warm and pick up new moisture, which will be dropped on the Coast Mountains of mainland British Columbia. Watch a short video where Kate, a volunteer warden talks about the unique features at Mitlenatch Island Nature Park.
Accessible only by boat, Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park offers excellent opportunities to observe and photograph wildflowers and birds. Visit in May when the island’s meadows of spring wildflowers are in bloom, or in late May to July when the harvest brodia blooms and in the last half of June when the coastal cactus bloom. Birders should approach the observation blind as a group, slowly and quietly, this may help to reduce the birds’ anxiety and allow you to observe their behaviour and “family life” more easily.
The island is a very sensitive ecosystem that is extremely prone to damage by visitors who venture off the designated trails. Pets are not permitted on the island.
Collecting of any kind is not permitted at Mitlenatch Island, including all shellfish.
Harvesting or collecting of any kind, including shellfish gathering, is not permitted in the the park’s marine zone, extending 300m around the island.
The waters beyond Mitlenatch Island Provincial Park are designated a Rockfish Conservation Area. For more information regarding the Rockfish Conservation Area, please consult the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Tidal Area Regulations (DFO).
This park has 1 pit toilet, located near the host cabin.
Due to the sensitive bird habitat, most of the island is closed to the public. A short trail from Camp Bay to Northwest Bay is the only area accessible to visitors. This trail ends at a bird blind located on the north tip of the island. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
There are opportunities for ocean swimming at this park. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Mitlenatch Island is accessible by canoe or kayak, and is a popular destination for paddlers.
Harvesting or collecting of any kind, including shellfish gathering, is not permitted in the the park’s marine zone extending 300m around the island. The waters beyond Mitlenatch Island Provincial Park are designated a Rockfish Conservation Area. For more information regarding the Rockfish Conservation Area, please consult the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Tidal Area Regulations (DFO).
Mitlenatch Island is home to the largest seabird nesting colony in the Strait of Georgia and offers excellent viewing opportunities of thousands of Glaucous-winged Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers and many other species of birds. A bird blind is located on the island’s trail system. Follow the posted guidelines for use of the blind. Marine life around the island includes river otters and harbour seals throughout the year, and Steller’s and California sea lions from late fall through to summer.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park is located east of Black Creek in the Strait of Georgia, off central Vancouver Island. The closest communities are Comox, Courtenay, Lund, Powell River and Campbell River. The park is accessible by boat, only. Boaters can reference marine chart #3513 and #3538 for more information about this area.
The only access to the park is from Northwest Bay or Camp Bay. No boats are to land along the rocky shorelines on either side of both Camp and Northwest Bays or at any point around the island. Oystercatchers and Pigeon Guillemots nest just above the high tideline. Boaters should enter into the middle of either bay to minimize wildlife disturbance and are responsible for their own boat and passengers.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.