Located on Holden Lake south of Nanaimo, this forested park is popular with local residents, who mainly come here to explore the extensive trail system. The marsh area at Hemer Provincial Park is also a favourite destination for bird watchers and ornithologists. A viewing platform over the marsh, approximately 1 km from the parking lot, provides the opportunity to observe various types of ducks, Trumpeter swans, Bald eagles and turkey vultures, as well as beavers.
Approximately 11 kilometres of easy walking trails weave through the park along Holden Lake and through the marsh areas. The trails are forested, primarily with mature coastal Douglas fir, red alder and big-leaf maple. Trails are not marked but are easily identifiable and well maintained. Hemer Park provides day-use opportunities at Holden Lake, a peaceful setting for paddlers, boaters and anglers.
This is one of the nicest walks in or around Grande Prairie. The views across the Bear Creek Reservoir to various landmark buildings give the park a picturesque quality reminiscent of great English parks or New York’s Central Park.
Start the walk at the Visitor Centre just off the Hwy 2 Bypass. Follow the paved trails along the eastern side of the reservoir then cross Bear Creek at the bridge to the Museum and Heritage Village. Walk between the Heritage Village and the creek until you regain the paved trail. Follow the trail past the College and through the Rotary Campground to the bridge back to the Visitor Centre and Sundail.
The beach walk from Hall Road to Seacrest Place is best done at low tide. There are two (?) portable toilets along this route: one on Seacrest Place and the other by the caretaker’s residence in the Heritage Forest. This trail strings together a beach walk, a number of short trails with walks along residential streets to create an interesting loop.
Directions: From the parking area at the end of Hall Road walk east along the shore to the first beach access at the end of Seacrest Place. This takes about 30 minutes. Turn right at the sitting area and follow Seacrest to the hill up to Eaglecrest Drive. There is a second beach access here which has a portable toilet during the summer months. Follow Eaglecrest Drive to Harlequin Road and turn right. Turn left on the path by the Pedestrian Crossing at the traffic lights on the Island Highway. Cross the highway and follow Bennett Road to Sunrise Drive, turn right and take the trail connector to Fern Road. Follow Fern to Qualicum Road, and then continue along the trail to where it intersects with Hemsworth Road. Turn right on Hemsworth, cross Village Way and follow the short trail to Chester Road. Turn left on Chester and then right into the Heritage Forest. Take the first trail to the right just before the caretaker’s residence (there is another portable toilet here) and return to Hemsworth Road. Turn left on Hemsworth, cross the Island Highway and walk along College Road past the Heritage Inn to Hall Road. Follow Hall Road down to the beach access.
This is one of the best walks in the Qualicum Beach area, and without a doubt my favourite. Years ago, while still living down island, I visited Qualicum Beach and went for a walk along Flamingo Drive. I fell in love with the town and vowed to return when I retired. As fate would have it, I found myself moving here much sooner than expected and settling on “the Flats”. I was even more impressed when I found that one could continue past Flamingo Drive to a beautiful wildlife reserve on the edge of a wide sandy beach that few people visited. The views to the west of Denman and Hornby Islands with the mountains of Vancouver Island in the background are sublime and fill me with awe. Sunsets are spectacular and the flocks of migrating sea birds are the highlight of the year.
￼Directions: Start at the Wildlife Viewing Area on the Old Island Highway, between Beach Terrace and Crescent Road West. Walk west along the waterfront for approximately 40 Minutes. A little over half way along the cobble beach swings to the southwest and broadens out to the wide sandy flats of the Little Qualicum River estuary. This area teems with wildfowl during the spring migration. Continue to the mouth of the Little Qualicum River and the memorial marker in recognition of Bill and Valerie Shuttleworth. Return along the beach to the first beach access at the end of Surfside Drive. Continue along Surfside and turn right on McFeely Drive. Follow McFeely as it turns to the south and becomes Kinkade Road. Turn left on Flamingo Drive, left on Seacroft Road, right on Higson Crescent, and left on to the Old Island Highway. Return along the Highway back to the beginning.