Razor Clams at Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park

Razor clams (Siliqua patula) are the signature shellfish associated with the west coast and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The long, exposed sandy beaches are perfect habitat for this surf-loving clam. In the national park, the stretch of Long Beach between Green Point and Schooner Cove is prime Pacific razor clam habitat. While live clams are difficult to view, if …

Wildflowers in Wickaninnish Beach Dunes

The Wickaninnish beach dunes are a fascinating place to view wildflowers that are unique to dune ecosystems. Parks Canada staff and volunteers at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve have worked in the dunes to remove introduced grass species. As a result, sand movement has improved and native plants are thriving in this dynamic and harsh environment. At this time of …

Hike to Surreal Snag Lake

Snag Lake is a good alternative to some of the more popular hikes on Vancouver Island and a doable stop on the way out to the west coast if you’re trying for a late afternoon road opening. With an early start, it is possible to complete this hike in 5 or 6 hours. Parking is in a large gravel area …

Magnificent Mole Crabs on the West Coast!

Five years ago, Pacific mole crabs (Emerita analoga) appeared dramatically on the exposed beaches of Pacific Rim National Park. The huge numbers that showed up in 2016 was astounding. At the time, I wondered if they would survive and establish themselves. The odds seemed long. Prior to 2006, there had been sporadic reports of influxes of mole crabs (notably between …

Seashore Lupine at Radar Hill Beach

Seashore lupine (Lupinus littoralis) Seashore lupine (Lupinus littoralis) grows in sandy beaches and dunes along the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. One place where it is found is Radar Hill Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. More than ten years ago, I noticed this lovely lupine when I first hiked down to the beaches. It was good to …

Beetles in the Dunes

Harsh environments like shorelines and dunes are good places to look for beetles. While on a hike at Radar Hill Beach in late May, I noticed an isolated log in the dunes above the beach. In a hot environment like sand dunes, wood and plants provide shade for small insects. I wasn’t really expecting anything, but thought that it would …

Hiking the Campbell River Lookout Trail

Looking back towards the Beaufort Range from a lower view point As an alternative to the very popular Ripple Rock trail consider the Campbell River Lookout trail. While the Ripple Rock trail might have a full parking lot, the lookout trail can be less busy. The views are just as good and perhaps better than Ripple Rock because the elevation …

Late Spring Flowers at Harewood Plains

Harewood Plains is a fabulous and sensitive wildflower ecosystem in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The late spring flower bloom occurs in early May and rolls into June. Water seeps down a gentle, mostly east facing slope that is covered by a shallow layer of soil over non-permeable rock. As a result, conditions are ideal for wildflowers and the open meadows are …

Grenade Fragments in the Dunes at Wickaninnish Beach

Earlier this year my kids and I discovered some grenade fragments in the dunes at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. At first glance, it looked like the rusted remains of a large metal object. Closer examination revealed it was multiple fragments of similar in size and shape. More distinct pieces of metal held clues to identifying what …

Vancouver Groundcone

Vancouver groundcone (Boschniakia hookeri) is an unusual saprophyte that grows in coastal British Columbia. It is found in association with salal (Gaultheria shallon) and kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) which it is parasitic on. Like the common name suggests, this parasitic herb looks like a weird cone growing out of the ground. Vancouver groundcone comes in a range of colours from pale …