Camping kick-off at McDonald Park

Camping-related activities for the entire family at local park

Parks Interpreters Athena George (left) and Robyn Sealy roast marshmallows over a campfire in McDonald Park Campground. The campground will host a camping kick off event June 2.

Those looking to learn more about camping or introduce their families to camping need to look no further than McDonald Park this weekend.

On Sunday, June 2 Parks Canada is teaming up with Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the Alpine Club of Canada and the Girl Guides of Canada to offer a hands-on day of activities and fun related to camping.

“It’s going to be a great event with something for everyone,” explained Gulf Island National Park Reserve Interpreter Athena George.

“The kick-off will get people excited about camping and getting out to our parks and it will also give people a taste of what the Gulf Island National Park Reserve has to offer.”

The day will feature mini-workshops including Tents 101 offered by MEC, how to string up a tarp and light a fire offered by local Pathfinders from the Girl Guides of Canada and a course on backwoods camping taught by the Alpine Club of Canada.

“This day is for everybody,” continued George.

“There’s activities for families, children, beginning campers and even experienced campers and there will also be lots of information available about local parks in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.”

Promotions Officer for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Francine Burnett, said many locals often forget they have such a park in their very own backyard.

“It’s easy to forget that we have these great places so close to home,” she said.

“The kick-off event will offer lots of great information on camping but we will also have lots of other information and pamphlets about other new and exciting programming going on the parks this summer including some new caping opportunities at Fort Rodd Hill,” she added.

The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve includes land in Sidney (and on Sidney Island), Pender Island, Saturna Island, Mayne Island, Russell Island and Tumbo Island, among others. New land was added to the reserve in 2012, which now totals over 60 square kilometres of protected land and water.

“We’re excited to be offering some new programming this summer to get more people out and using the parks,” said Burnett.

The Camping Kick-Off event at McDonald Park Campground (10740 McDonald Park Rd.) runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine on Sunday, June 2. Parking is limited on-site, so those attending are asked to park at Blue Heron Park located next to the campground.

For more information, visit www.pc.gc.ca/gulfislands or call 250-654-4000.

Upcoming programming with Parks Canada Gulf Island National Park Reserve

• Tropical Vacations on Sidney Spit – Learn about what kind of small creatures inhabit the waters off Sidney Spit as well as how to geocache. This free programming will run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through July and August.

• Animal Safari on Saturna Island – Learn about the salmon and orca whales that live in the local waters as well as enjoy free time to explore Saturna. This free programming will run 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through July and August.

• Friday Night Campfire – Join Parks Canada Interpreters at McDonald Park for a fun campfire evening complete with songs, stories, games and treats and be home in time for bed. Programming runs Friday nights from 7 to 8 p.m. through June and July.

Visit the website for the most up to date information on programming and availability.