Strathcona Provincial Park

IUCN Category II - National Park

The Forbidden Plateau

Strathcona Provincial Park is the largest park on Vancouver Iceland. It extends over an area of ​​2458 km ² and is also the oldest Provincial Park ( established in 1911 ). It was named after Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, a pioneer of road construction and philanthropist.

The park is located largely in the Strathcona Regional District. Small park parts are also in the Comox Valley Regional District.


The park is located relatively in the center of Vancouver Iceland. The largest lake in the park is the Buttle Lake (28 km ²), named for Commander John Buttle, who was one of the first explored the area in the 1860s. The 440 -meter Della Falls ( they of the prospector and trapper Joe Drinkwater had in 1899 after the name of his wife named ) are among the highest waterfalls in Canada. The highest point of Vancouver Iceland is the 2198 m high Golden Hinde, similar high are the Elkhorn Mountain ( 2166 m), Mount Colonel Foster ( 2129 m) and Mount Albert Edward ( 2093 m).

The Strathcona Provincial Park includes not only the actual park also two other parts, which are surrounded by the park, or immediately adjacent to it. It is one of the enclosed car part Strathcona - Westminster and on the other the adjacent part of Strathcona - Megin / Talbot.

In the Western Park area of ​​the park includes the three Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, established in 2000, associated watersheds.

In the park there is basically a protected area category II (National Park). When Park Strathcona share - Westminster is however a reserve category V ( Protected Landscape Area ) and the park part Strathcona - Megin / Talbot to a reserve category Ia ( Strict Nature Reserve ).


Commander John Buttle, the namesake of the Buttle Lakes explored the area in the 1860s. In the 1890s, the provincial government introduced the first studies for the construction of the E & N Railway and awarded the necessary lands. Robert Dunsmuirs Company received in exchange for the construction of the railway, which should run from Muir Creek in Sooke on the southern edge of the island in a straight line to Crown Mountain, the whole area. All land east of this line went to the Company. However, the line was never built on Courtenay addition. Nevertheless, this line of the eastern boundary of the park in 1911.

1894 and 1896 aroused the Rev. William W. Bolton in connection with its exploration, the interest of the Prime Minister of British Columbia on the establishment of a park. In the following years, surveys, documentation, and especially photographs were first produced on a larger scale.

Early as 1911, but especially during the wars took place in the region to mining companies. In 1959, Westmin Mine was opened, which is maintained today. Its territory covers around 1.5 % of the total park. Should the mine be closed, so is already foreseen that this area is to enjoy the full protection of the park.

The shores of Buttle Lakes were drawn in connection with the current reclamation from the Elk Falls affected, this came lumbering.

1987 announced the provincial government, largely to ban industrial uses and loggers out of the park. The Friends of Strathcona organized a blockade that led to the arrest of 63 protesters. Then, a master plan for the park was established. The Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee was established to provide adequate protection.

Consequently, the McBride Creek ( 37.5 km ² ) and the Megin waterfall were 1995 ( 273.9 km ² ) is connected, later the Divers and the Rossitor Lake.

Flora and Fauna

The park is located in the temperate rain forest and within the ecosystem of British Columbia, the park area is assigned to different zones. Due to the size of the park and the sometimes very different biological and geological situation occur in the park the following zones and subzones before: Alpine Tundra Zone - Costal subzone, Mountain Hemlock Zone - Maritime Parkland subzone, Mountain Hemlock Zone - Moist Maritime Subzone, Coastal Western Hemlock zone - Dry Maritime subzone and Coastal Western Hemlock zone - Wet Maritime subzone.

Occasionally, a part of the ecosystem of the park (about 48,000 ha) is simply referred to only as old-growth forest. Here, this is then distinguished mainly by the fact that the trees there have to reach a minimum height of 30 meters and must be at least 150 years old. Larger populations of this old-growth forest are found for example in Gwaii Haanas National Park - (~ 65,000 ha). The best known of these old-growth forest, however Cathedral Grove.

According to the climate on Canada's west coast, the summer, the winters are moderate, very mild. Nevertheless, the high mountains are permanently covered with snow.

Rare native mammals marmot Vancouver, Vancouver Iceland wolf, elk and wild boar. The park also provides habitat for birds such as Nuthatch, Rotrückenmeise, Wren, Firecrest, Gray Jay, Steller and the scales neck dove. There are also populations of Rocky Mountain chicken, ruffed grouse and white-tailed ptarmigan.


The tourist infrastructure is focused on two different areas, the one located in East Forbidden Plateau - of Courtenay off to a good part of the route to reach by car - and on the other to the Buttle Lake, the Campbell River on Highway 28 can be reached. The rest of the park is accessible only on foot and by experienced hikers. For the hiker standing in the trail areas Bedwell Trail, Elk River Trail and Forbidden Plateau only prepared tent sites available. In the Forbidden Plateau, there are also ranger stations.

The park has two, only with very simple sanitary facilities, equipped camping area. Both are located at Buttle Lake. One camping area is located at the northern end of the lake and the other at the southern end. The two places offers a total of 161 places ( Buttle Lake and Ralph River = 86 = 75 ) for campers and tents. These can be reserved in part.