Witty's Lagoon Regional Park
Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC
Water is the essence
of Witty's Lagoon. Creek, waterfall, lagoon, beach and rocky
shore draw you into an ecosystem rich with coastal plants and
Explore and Discover
Begin your exploration of Witty's Lagoon at the
Nature Information Centre. Check out the interpretive displays on
the lagoon's natural and cultural history, and find out what's in
season. CRD Parks Naturalists will give you a sense of direction
before you hit the trails.
Adjacent to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in the
Bilston Creek Watershed, lies Witty's Lagoon Regional Park, a harmonious
blend of protected natural environments.
Enter through a dark woodland of immense Douglas-fir:
the Songhees people made fishing hooks from this wood's knots. Broadleaf
Maple is also common here, called "Paddle-Tree" in a number
of Coast Salish languages, a reference to its carving use.
Running through the forest is Bilston Creek,
its edges laced with delicate Lady Fern. The creek tumbles toward
a waterfall, then spills over volcanic rock-a trickle in Summer,
and a thunderous cascade in Winter-misting Ocean Spray and Stonecrop
clinging to the cliff.
Where fresh water meets salt water, the
is formed. Wind, tide, and current create an environment teeming
with life. The calm, nutrient-rich waters are warm and shallow,
valuable as nurseries for animals which tolerate both salt and
water, and feed on the microscopic life flourishing here.
Further on lies the salt marsh, a tidal
bordering the lagoon. Here channels of salt water create new territory
for tiny snails, rock crabs and fish which migrate from the ocean.
A thick carpet of green covers the marsh. This is Glasswort; in
Summer it is entwined in the orange stems of Saltmarsh Dodder,
parasitic plant. Many of the plants found in the saltmarsh are
for wintering wildfowl which feed in this area.
Beyond, a wide beach beckons. Few plants
animals survive the rolling, churning movement of sand here. But
just below the surface are those who have adapted: burrowers such
as Bloodworms find food among the tiny grains; Bent-nose Clams,
filter feeders, strain food out of the water; and browsers like
Purple Shore Crabs eat decomposing plants and animals. Above the
high water mark, tall rye grasses rustle in the wind, and Beach
Pea and Sea Rocket grow among the driftwood.
At the edge of the saltmarsh, a narrow spit is
home to sprawling plants like Silver Burweed and rare Yellow Sand
Verbena. Waves push and mould this long bank, carrying and sorting
sand from a nearby eroding cliff. If the spit ever meets the far
shore, the lagoon will disappear, as the saltmarsh slowly takes
The spit points toward the
at Tower Point. In this intertidal zone, plants and animals must
be able to survive different periods of wet and dry. At low tide,
look for Purple Sea Stars, white Acorn Barnacles and brown Rockweed.
Scurrying Hermit Crabs and Shield Limpets with their cone hats
shelter under seaweed. Harbour Seals play in kelp beds and sea
pass by on their migration route each Spring.
Witty's Lagoon is as diverse in bird life as
it is in landscapes, making it a birder's paradise. The park contains
over 160 documented species and is considered one of the best places
in the region to bird watch. Listen for the rattle call of the
Kingfisher flying high over the creek. Feel the air vibrate as
Warblers and Dark-eyed Juncos fill the forest with birdsong. Wander
through the tidal flats to Tower Point, following the tracks of
Great Blue Heron or Western Sandpiper. Bring your binoculars, and
be prepared for discovery.
When you enter Wittys Lagoon Regional
for a day of bird watching, you enter a special place. Listen for
the rattle-like call of the Belted Kingfisher flying high over
Creek. Feel the air vibrate as Orange-crowned Warblers and Dark-eyed
Juncos fill the forest with birdsong. Look for Canada Geese at
edge of the saltmarsh. Wander through tidal flats to Tower Point,
Following the tracks of the Great Blue Heron or the Western Sandpiper.
This is Wittys Lagoon at its best, a paradise for birds, and
a birders paradise.
This 56 hectare park is a harmonious blend of
protected natural environments. A spectacular waterfall, mixed woodland,
tidal lagoon, sandy beach, and rocky shore are all home to an impressive
variety of coastal birds; both common and elusive species are found
at Wittys Lagoon throughout the year. Some are widespread
while others are restricted to specific habitat types.
To find out more about the natural and
cultural history of Wittys Lagoon, stop by the Nature Information
Center, talk to the naturalist on duty, and have a look at the
history displays. Or join in a nature walk. Interpretive programs
are offered in the park throughout the year.
Witty’s Lagoon car park
compromises to allow easier access to beach; signs show where street
parking is allowed
By Bill Cleverley Times Colonist staff
June 09, 2006
Metchosin is allowing street parking for Witty’s Lagoon
Regional Park day trippers, but wants them to know that their cars
could be towed if they park illegally on Witty Beach or Stillmeadow
Residents have long complained of park users blocking their driveways,
and emergency vehicles have difficulty when cars are parked along
both sides of the roads.
“Last year the council just outlawed parking altogether, which caused no
end of stink,” said Mayor John Ranns. “So this year we talked it
over with the residents and I think we’ve come up with a pretty reasonable
The municipality has now posted signs indicating where parking
is and isn’t
allowed. Totem Towing will remove any vehicles illegally parked, said Metchosin
acting chief administrative officer Dave Drummond.
“We just want people to follow the parking rules and not get their cars
If residents have problems they aren’t to contact the towing company
directly but instead call the municipality during business hours and Capital
Regional District parks in the off hours, Drummond said.
The new signage is a compromise, he said. “What council wanted to do,
and I think the residents wanted to [do] was to provide some parking for people,
as much as possibly could be done within the constraints of not blocking driveways
and keeping the route open for emergency vehicles.”
Ranns said the municipality is putting in some special drains and
filling in some ditches along Witty Beach Road to allow for more
parking. The road parking is needed because the CRD regional
park lot is just too far away (1.1 kilometres) from the beach
for some, Ranns said.
“One thing I want to make clear is the residents of Witty Beach Road all
supported having parking there because they felt it’s a beautiful beach
and families and kids should have an opportunity to use it. The only thing the
residents were concerned about was parking in their driveways,” Ranns said.
People who have their cars towed could be in for a long walk. Cars
will be taken to the company’s compound at 1297 Glenshire Dr., off Sooke Road
in Langford. Cars towed after 5 p.m. cannot be picked up until the morning
of the next working day.
Parking is free at most regional
parks and trails. At Sooke Potholes and Thetis Lake, pay parking
is in effect May 1-Sept. 30 at a cost of $2 per day or $15 for
the season. Parking is free at all regional parks and trails Oct.
1 to April 30.
Koupal, a new arrival to the region found her
way to Witty’s Lagoon on a recent sunny day.
have been plagued by illegal parking in the neighbourhood.