OUT ON A LIMB: Protecting Quadra’s quirks and parks

It’s a great opportunity to complete a natural park boundary in a landscape that is only partially protected

It’s so redundant around here to say “it’s such a beautiful place” because there are so many beautiful places around here. But Small Inlet is another one of them.

On the northwest coast of Quadra Island is a gouge. That gouge is Granite Bay which indents into the wild northern land mass of Quadra Island. Extending further inland from Granite Bay is a narrow crack extending deeper into the northern Quadra uplands which opens up into a longish bay.

The narrow passage makes Small Inlet fun to paddle into like I did two or three years ago with a group of Venturers. But I first paddled into there in the late 1990s, invited as part of an effort to publicize the need to complete the provincial park that had been established in 1996.

Well, that effort continues as we saw in the Mirror last week. A campaign to “save the heart of Quadra parks” is bringing in CBC personality Bob McDonald, host of the Mother Corp.’s radio science show Quirks and Quarks. McDonald will be the guest speaker at a fundraising dinner and silent auction at Quadra’s Heriot Bay Inn on Saturday. The Quadra Island Stewardship and Conservancy Association is spearheading an effort to raise $200,000 to help the province buy a 365 ha. property that joins Small Inlet Marine Provincial Park with Octopus Island Provincial Park.

The two parks touch each other and  stretch across part of the southern shore of Small Inlet and Waiatt Bay (Octopus Islands park) and the steeply rising hillside climbing out of the inlets. But only part of the shoreline is protected as part of the parks and there’s the northern shore and uplands that could be part of the parks, inlcuding a lowland portage trail that links the two bays.

The website www.quadraparks.ca says, “A privately owned 395 hectare property spans the height of land between Small Inlet on the west and Waiatt Bay on the east. It takes in much of the shoreline and viewsheds of the bay and inlet, and has been intended for parkland for many years.”

The land is currently privately owned. The B.C. government signed a conditional $6.15 million purchase agreement for the land which it promised to acquire 16 years ago. The Ministry of the Environment is is working on the ways to secure the money and Quadra Islanders are mounting the $200,000 campaign to help out before the Sept. 28 closing date of the deal.

It’s a great opportunity to complete a natural park boundary in a landscape that is only partially protected at the moment. It’s a beautiful place.

For more information see www.quadraparks.ca and www.sierraclub.bc.ca.