Lifestyle

For a dose of nature in the dog days of winter visit the estuary

The bird-blind at Dick Murphy Park guarantees a view of waterfowl. - Photo submitted
The bird-blind at Dick Murphy Park guarantees a view of waterfowl.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Once spring arrives, forests and nature trails will draw us in to their verdant, flowery surrounds.

Meanwhile, as cold weather lingers, one of the city’s most exciting nature destinations – in a marine setting – beckons those seeking winter adventure. A bonus children’s playground provides even more family fun.

Since 2008, Dick Murphy Park, located next to Discovery Harbour Plaza, has charmed visitors to the nature-filled acreage alongside .5 km. of paved trails. Located on a spit of land, where the Campbell River flows into Discovery Passage, the park is packed with native flora, stunning scenery and full amenities, all accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Waterbirds gather here in large numbers, in all four seasons, with guaranteed birdwatching from an enclosed bird-blind overlooking the estuary.

Three species of colourful merganser, great blue herons, swans and the omnipresent mallards find safe harbour, while bald eagles circle overhead.

On a good day, nature photographers set their scopes on mink scurrying among beach rocks, and river otters at play.

Summer visitors sight whales or dolphins on the park’s Discovery Passage side. Seals frequent the estuary in large numbers, feeding on abundant fish and seafood.

For kayakers it’s double delight: easy entry for calm estuarine paddles on one side, or a rollicking roll for sea-faring kayaks on the other.

In summer, the park offers prime cruise-ship viewing and beach-fire building, with a front-seat overlooking rowboat fishers in the Tyee pool.

Amenities: Two fully accessible year-round washrooms, children’s playground, three parking areas, birdwatching platform/lookout, interpretive signage, boat ramp, beach access, picnic tables.

Access: Spit Road (off Highway 19A), behind Canadian Tire and Staples.

E-mail Christine at: wildernesswest@shaw.ca

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