While the entire country is partying for Canada’s 150th Birthday, there’s another celebration to be had - and this one is close to home. Metro Vancouver is observing 50 years of the regional parks system; that’s 50 years of protecting 14,500 hectares of forests, fields, rivers and beaches that are literally right outside our doorstep. We think it’s something all Metro Vancouverites can agree on; our regional parks are one of the major reasons why Metro Vancouver has become one of the most livable cities in the world.
We are a little sheepish to say that when we were first introduced to the idea of Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, we weren’t sure which parks were included. We were so surprised to hear that Vancouver’s long list of parks includes 23 regional parks, three regional park reserves, two ecological conservancy areas, and five regional greenways, many of which we have never visited before. Some are as close to our home as Pacific Spirit Regional Park, (a mere 10 minute drive away), one requires a ferry to get there, (Crippen Regional Park is on Bowen Island!) and some extend as far away as as Mission. No matter what kind of landscape you prefer, whether it be mountainous terrain, raging rivers and waterfalls, lush meadows or oceanside beaches, there’s a Metro Vancouver Regional Park for everyone. It’s about time we explored them all.
To help celebrate 50 years of regional parks, (and to provide some major inspo for new local adventure locations), Metro Vancouver has developed the Passport Program to help you explore regional parks and collect stamps along the way to earn rewards. These nifty booklets can be picked up at several park locations, (click here to find out where), or you can download the free MV Passport app from the app store. We snagged our Passports and got our first stamp from Pacific Spirit Regional Park, where on Canada Day, we attended one of the many Metro Vancouver local events occurring over the summer - Rainforest Giants: Tall Trees.
Oh myyy goodness. Let’s talk about Pacific Spirit Regional Park for a second. This natural piece of land boasts over 73km of walking and hiking trails, including some that are available for mountain biking or horseback riding. The trails extend all the way to Wreck Beach where you’ll find some of the most stunning, unobstructed ocean views in the city. How incredible is it that you can be completely immersed in nature, so close to home? We went for an incredible morning walk through the trees, where the only sounds you can hear from the middle of the forest are the chirping birds and the rustling of leaves. We learned A TON more about some of the local species that live in our vicinity. Along the Lily of the Valley trail we found identification tags tied to different plants and trees, full of fun facts. (Did you know that Vine Maple is a good source of nectar for bees? Or that the leaves of the Red Alder are a yummy snack for the Swallowtail Butterfly, or that Salmonberries can be yellow, orange, red, and dark red? Cause we didn’t!) With a stand at the entry to the park and a lovely Metro Vancouver Regional Parks team member (Miki!) welcoming us with a wealth of knowledge, it was such an awesome way to start the day, explore a local park, and get involved in the community.
Over the summer, we plan to attend many more Metro Vancouver Regional Park events, and explore as many parks as we can…we gotta fill up those Passport pages! Some of our all time favourite spots include Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Capilano River Regional Park, Belcarra Regional Park and Pacific Spirit Regional Park - but we can’t wait to explore them all. Which one are you going to visit next?
Metro Vancouver Regional Parks:
THIS POST IS IN PAID PARTNERSHIP WITH METRO VANCOUVER. ALL PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG POST WERE TAKEN AND EDITED BY BRIE & REUBEN OF VANCITYWILD.
ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.