Passenger ferry service to Sidney Spit Park resumes today

Campsites, docks and trails in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve open for the season

SIDNEY — Passenger ferry service between Sidney and Sidney Spit Park begins its 2017 season today (Fri., May 19) as the campgrounds, docks and trails of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve re-open to visitors.

The National Park Reserve announced the opening this week and invites people back — or for the first time — to some of the special places on the Salish Sea. The ferry rides takes approximately 20 minutes, leaving out of the Port Sidney Marina.

Sidney Spit is also one of the prime places on Vancouver Island to see unique species like purple martins. For migratory birds such as the Western Sandpiper (featured in Dreamworks’ animated short “Piper”), Sidney Spit is a critical place to rest and forage for food during long trips between the arctic and areas as far south as South America. There are also forested trails, picnic areas and campsites to enjoy.

This weekend is a great time to do some land-based whale watching at Saturna Island’s East Point. Even if you don’t see a resident orca, you will likely spot a sea lion or seal basking close by.

It’s not too late to snag a campsite! For many people, Victoria Day Weekend is a time to pull out camping gear and enjoy an overnight experiences under the stars. Campsites throughout Gulf Islands National Park Reserve have also opened, with weekend availability remaining at Sidney Spit, McDonald Campground.

For the rest of the camping season, visitors may be happy to learn that Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is making it easier to plan back-country trips and multi-days paddles through the park reserve with new options to reserve sites at Narvaez Bay Campground on Saturna Island and Beaumont Campground on Pender Island. These oceanside locations are in addition to the existing reservable sites on Sidney Island, McDonald Campground in North Saanich, and North Pender Island’s Shingle Bay and Prior Centennial campgrounds.

Canada’s national parks and historic sites enable Canadians to experience their rich history and heritage in a special way and will play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

— Gulf Islands National Park Reserve