LONG BEACH UNIT - 2000 VISITOR INFORMATION
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is part of a system of national parks and historic sites stretching from sea to sea to sea. It protects for all time a significant example of Canada's natural and cultural heritage to encourage public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment for present and future generations.
HERITAGE PAST AND PRESENT
The Long Beach Unit (LBU) is the most easily accessible unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (PRNPR), and is an area of great beauty and significance. Walking on long sandy beaches, hearing the thunder of huge waves crashing on the shore, and exploring cool, lush rainforest are all part of the Long Beach experience.
As part of Canada's National Park System, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve represents and protects both the near shore waters and the coastal lowland forests of Vancouver Island's west coast. Together the three units of the National Park Reserve; Long Beach, the West Coast Trail and the Broken Group Islands manage and protect an area of land and ocean covering 49,962 hectares.
Influenced by the Pacific Ocean and backed by the Insular Mountain range of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim is perched on the edge of the land and the ocean. The moderate maritime climate (cool foggy summers, mild wet winters, annual precipitation of 300 cm./120ins.) encourages an abundance of life in the water and on land. In no other temperate region on earth is there a more bountiful and diverse intertidal zone than on North America's nutrient-rich Pacific coast. The moderate climate also encourages the lush growth of temperate rainforests, dominated by coniferous tree species such as Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar
The people of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have lived along this coastline for centuries. More recent explorers and settlers arriving on this coast found the dense forests and rich waters defined their lives as foresters and fishers. Today, people find the LBU an ideal escape from the hectic pace of urban life.
The Long Beach Unit represents examples of four different seashore types: sandy beaches, cobble beaches, rocky headlands and mudflats; as well as three types of Coastal forest: Sphagnum moss bog, Sitka Spruce fringe and Cedar-Hemlock rainforest. One of the truly outstanding features of this unit is its namesake: Long Beach; the most extensive beach and sand dune formation on Vancouver Island. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural heritage and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast. Balancing protection and recreational use of our national treasures, our national parks, is a responsibility not only of Parks Canada, but of all park visitors. Follow the park guidelines in this handout to ensure the conservation and sustainability of our special heritage places for future generations.
HOW TO GET THERE
The LBU is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island between the villages of Ucluelet and Tofino. Follow Highway 4, the "Pacific Rim Highway" west from Port Alberni. This 108 km (65 mile) steep and winding road takes about 90 minutes to drive. Allow ample time for your journey and avoid driving the highway at night. The highway is busy during the summer; if you wish to enjoy the scenery, use pullouts to let traffic pass you. At the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, turn right, and you will soon cross the southern boundary of the LBU.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
High season/Low season
If you plan to arrive during July and August, remember that this is high season in the Tofino / Ucluelet area. Expect the LBU and nearby communities to be very busy and operating at full capacity. During the low season (November-February), expect most park facilities, including the Wickaninnish Centre, Information Centre and Green Point Campground to be closed.
When you enter the LBU, you enter a national park reserve. As a national park reserve visitor, you have certain responsibilities to ensure your safety, and the cultural and ecological integrity of the park. When you arrive, stop in at the Wickaninnish Centre, the Park Information Centre or Green Point Campground. There, you can pick up a copy of the LBU map and speak with park staff about:
planning a hike
choosing a Park Use Permit
wildlife cautions and closures
plants, animals, and other park resources
the latest weather forecast
interpretive programs and special events
Due to weather (e.g. wave hazard), natural (e.g. wildlife, erosion), financial, or operational concerns, the Long Beach Unit may not be accessible to the public.
Perched on the shore of the Pacific, this interpretive facility focuses on the natural and cultural history of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The Wickaninnish Centre also functions as the park Information Centre during the shoulder season (March 15 - June 16 and Sept. 18 - Oct. 9, 2000). Through exhibits, displays, films, and short presentations, visitors can enhance their national park reserve experience. Two all-terrain wheelchairs are available for visitor use. The Wickaninnish Centre is open daily from 10:30 am - 6:00 p.m., March 15 to October 9.
During the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, March 18 - April 2, 2000, the Centre's hours of operation will be 10:00 am - 6:00 pm daily.
The Wickaninnish Centre also houses the Wickaninnish Restaurant, open 11:00 am - 9:00 pm, mid-March to mid-October. The opening/closing hours and dates of the Wickaninnish Restaurant vary each year. Call in advance for more information: (250) 726-7706.
The Park Information Centre is located on Highway 4, just inside the park's southern boundary. The Information Centre offers information on all three units of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. In 2000, the Park Information Centre will be open daily from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm between June 17th to Sept 17th.
PARK USE PERMITS
You must display a valid Park Use Permit in your vehicle if you stop in the LBU from March 15 to October 9, 2000. Your Park Use Permit gives you access to park beaches, trails, picnic areas, washrooms and the Wickaninnish Centre. Short-term (less than 24 hour) permits may be purchased at designated parking lots throughout the LBU. Seasonal and Annual permits may be purchased at the Wickaninnish Centre, the Park Information Centre and the Green Point Campground entrance kiosk.
Park Use Permits Available:
Short-term: in designated parking lots.
Valid from March 15 to October 9, 2000.
Great Western Annual**:
Valid for 12 months from month of purchase.
*Senior: over 65 yrs, present proof of age at time of purchase.
**The Great Western pass is valid in all national parks west of the Ontario border.
GREEN POINT CAMPGROUND
The only campground in the LBU
located off Highway 4, 10 km north of the Park Information Centre
situated on a forested terrace above the beach
there are several access trails to the beach and beach walk-in campsites
open March 18-Oct. 31, 2000
closed November to mid-March
access is controlled at the entrance kiosk
maximum stay is seven days
designed to be a limited service campground: no showers or hook-ups
To ensure other campers enjoyment and to reduce camper-wildlife conflict, restrictions on fires, pets, alcohol and sound systems are in place
Bare Campsite Policy
In Green Point campground there is a zero-tolerance policy for wildlife attractants (e.g. garbage, coolers on picnic tables, pet food). Non-compliance will result in eviction. Follow guidelines issued when you register.
Green Point offers 2 campsite types: Drive-in and walk in.
located on a forested terrace above the beach
flush toilets, fire pits, and a sani-station
maximum 4 adults (plus children), 2 tents, 2 vehicles/site
firewood available $5.50/bundle
campsites may be reserved through Discover Camping Reservation Service 1-800-689-9025 or through the internet at www.discovercamping.ca
a reservation fee of $6.42 per night to a maximum of $19.26 for 3 nights or more is charged
reservations taken March 1-Sept 15 up to 3 months in advance
between May and September, reservations are recommended for drive-in sites
vehicles are parked, sites are accessed on foot
no pets, fires, alcohol or sound systems
bring a camp stove for cooking
walk-in camping is available on a first-come-first-served basis
Walk-in forest campsite
access trail 10 m - 300 m
picnic tables, flush toilets and cold water taps
maximum 4 adults (plus children) per site
maximum 2 tents per site
Walk-in beach campsite
access trail 1 km (Steep gravel trail)
cold water taps, pit toilets, food cache, garbage facilities
maximum 2 adults (plus children) per site
maximum 1 tent per site
Due to high tides, wildlife, and/or weather concerns, beach campsites may not be accessible.
Group Walk-in Campsite:
facilities as per forest campsite
$50/night, 24 people maximum
Reserve through Green Point Campground kiosk
Fees vary according to services offered:
March 18 - June 23
June 24 - Sept. 10*
Sept. 11 - Oct. 9
October 10 - 31
*The high season camping fee includes nightly theatre programs from June 24 - Sept. 10. The indoor interpretive theatre is located near the campground parking lot.
EXPLORING THE LBU
There are 9 short walking trails in the LBU
Most feature interpretive signs or brochures
The Bog trail is wheelchair accessible
20 km of sandy beaches also provide enjoyable hiking experiences (check tide tables before you go)
All wet surfaces (rocks, logs, stairs, boardwalks) may be slippery. Be cautious
To enhance your LBU experience, join a guided walk led by parks interpretive staff!
On or near the Ocean:
The LBU attracts storm watchers, waders, swimmers, boogie boarders, board surfers, wind surfers and surf kayakers. While the water may be enticing, it can also be very dangerous. Check with park staff for local conditions and hazards.
Beware the power of the ocean. Remember:
the Pacific Ocean is very cold, (7-15°C or 45-55°F)
unexpected sets of large waves may suddenly sweep beaches and rocks
high tides may make beaches impassible or cut off your route
strong rip currents near rocks and sandbars may sweep you out to sea
During the summer months, there is a surfguard on duty at the north end of Long Beach. This is the only supervised beach.
Living with Wildlife
Many wild animals call PRNPR home. Bears, cougars, wolves, shorebirds and intertidal animals are only a few examples. For wildlife, the LBU is an important feeding, resting and living area.
The LBU is also becoming an increasingly popular tourism destination. As visitation increases, so does the potential for conflicts between visitors and wildlife. A conflict can range from your dog chasing shorebirds feeding on the beach, to a black bear attracted to toothpaste left out in your campsite.
When you visit the LBU, you are visiting a wilderness area. What you do can have an impact on your safety and the safety of wildlife.
PRNPR's mandate is to preserve significant natural and cultural features, and to protect both wildlife and visitors. For this reason, walking trails and parts of Green Point campground may be periodically closed to prevent visitor-wildlife conflicts.
As a national park visitor, you have an active, crucial role to play in maintaining the LBU as a safe place for wildlife and visitors.
What you can do:
Ask about the "Living with Wildlife" initiative
ask park staff about wildlife cautions/closures
keep your dog on a leash at all times
never allow wildlife access to food, garbage, toiletries, or coolers
report any bear, wolf or cougar sightings to park staff
Sea lions, seals and whales are found in this unit of the park. It is unlawful, and dangerous, to approach a marine mammal any closer than 100 m. For federal guidelines referring to marine mammal viewing, contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (see Information Sources / References for details). Sea lions are known to carry a disease called leptospirosis. It can be transferable to humans; never touch, or allow your pet to approach, a dead marine mammal.
From June 24 to Sept. 10, 2000, park staff will offer a variety of interpretive events and indoor theatre programs. Get the most out of your visit and discover the natural and cultural heritage of PRNPR. Thrill to shipwreck stories, unravel the mysteries of the rainforest, discover the secret life of sea stars. Visit the Wickaninnish Centre or local Information Centres for details on locations, times, and fees. Watch for advertising posted at park facilities and on bulletin boards.
Choose from a variety of fun, educational programs, from night walks to rainforest and intertidal explorations, for your school or group. Call (250) 726-4716 or fax (250) 726-4720 for booking information and fees.
Another element of PRNPR's Heritage Learning program is the Pacific Rim Elderhostel program. Elderhostel is a recreational learning program for adults 50 years and older. The Pacific Rim Elderhostel is a 5 day/6 night program based in Green Point Campground that focuses on the natural and cultural heritage of the west coast.
For more information contact: Heather Holmes at 250-726-7165 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fires may be made on beaches*, but they must be:
built below the high water mark
well away from large drift logs
put out before you leave. (Parking lots are gated and locked after 11:00 pm to allow park wildlife access to their feeding areas, free from disturbance)
*Fires are not permitted in the Green Point beach campsite area. Fires affect other camper's enjoyment of their site, and campers looking for firewood have caused damage to vegetation.
Finfish and shellfish harvest limits are reduced in PRNPR. It is your responsibility to:
carry the appropriate licences
know and adhere to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulations
check in advance for PSP (paralytic shellfish poisoning) warnings or closures (See Information Sources/References)
This is a national park reserve; established to protect the diversity of life in this area for present and future generations, consider not harvesting.
As you explore the LBU, you may discover many things you would like to bring home: shells, driftwood, feathers, rocks, plants and even animals. Removal of any natural or cultural resources from a national park is not permissible under the National Parks Act. Shells break down to form the beaches, and provide food for tiny creatures in the sand, which in turn become food for shorebirds. Driftwood provides a buffer against the waves, and prevents erosion of the upper beach levels. Consider beachcombing for plastics and debris, and drop them off in a parking lot garbage can. National parks are our national treasures, help preserve their integrity for today and tomorrow.
The traditional territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations encompass Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. There are several Indian Reserves in the LBU, with special features of natural and cultural significance. Respect all First Nations lands and policies.
Whalefest: March 18-April 2, 2000
The Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival is held each spring. View migrating gray whales from the beach areas or from commercial boat charters operating out of Ucluelet and Tofino.
Oceans Day: June 8, 2000
National Aboriginal Day: June 21, 2000
Canada Day: July 1, 2000
Parks Day: July 18, 2000
Check local Chambers of Commerce or Park Information Centres for more information and event schedules.
FACILITIES OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK
Motels, lodges, resorts, restaurants, commercial campgrounds, banks, gas stations, and retail stores are found in the villages of Tofino and Ucluelet, adjacent to the national park reserve.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
2185 Ocean Terrace Rd.
P.O. Box 280
Ucluelet, BC, VOR 3A0 Canada
Pachena Bay Information / Registration Centre
Open daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May 1 - Oct 5
Gordon River Information / Registration Centre
Phone: 250-647-5434 Fax: 250-647-0016
Open daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, May 1-Oct. 5
Long Beach Information Centre
Open daily 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, mid-June - mid-September.
Source: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - Long Beach Unit - 2000 Visitor Information Handout (June 7th, 2000)
Information may have changed - A current copy of this brochure may be obtained at the Long Beach Unit Information Centre or the Wickaninnish Centre