Last Sunday we went on a great hike to 450 acre (183 hectare) Smuggler’s Cove Marine Park which is about a half hour drive from our house. The park initially was accessed only by boat through a very narrow hidden channel that opened into a series of beautiful smaller coves.
It derived it’s name from two sources. The first was from Chinese labourers who had been working on the Canadian Pacific Railroad across Canada who found themselves without work on the completion of the railway in 1885. They paid ‘pirate’ Larry Kelly, an ex-royal navy seaman, $100 each to smuggle them out of Vancouver, Canada and into the United States to try to find work. Kelly used the cove as his base of operation.
The second was during Prohibition (1920-1933) rum-runners used the cove as a safe haven when collecting alcohol from nearby Texada Island to transport down to the US.
Some time in the 1970’s land access was created with a 2.5 mile (4 km) long trail from the car park to the entrance of the cove. When we first walked the trail it passed a couple of small lakes with a stream linking them. Over the years, beavers in the lakes created occasional flooding by building dams. Rather than fight them, park workers built boardwalks over the flooded areas. On our latest visit it appears that the beavers have the upper hand. The lakes have definitely increased in size and in three or four areas it’s necessary to do a little off-trailing to by-pass the flooding.
It’s great to see the beaver being allowed to do what beavers do, creating a much more interesting and diverse hike.
I’ll break this post into two sections, the beaver trails today and the cove tomorrow.
If you click on the collage below you can scroll through larger versions of the photos individually.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any beavers this time.