Moorecroft Regional Park was purchased by the RDN on March 2, 2011 from the BC Conference of the United Church of Canada for $4.8 million dollars through a combination of short-term borrowing and reserves and through $116,000 fundraised by The Nature Trust of BC and $40,000 raised locally by the Nanaimo Area Land Trust.
The 34 hectare Moorecroft site includes shoreline and spectacular views across the Georgia Strait. There are approximately 32 hectares of natural forest featuring tree species such as Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Arbutus, Bigleaf Maple, Red Alder and Garry Oak. Two intermittent creeks run through the property, and two eagle nesting sites have been identified. The property also contains a wetland area known as Skipsey Lake, an open field and a network of walking trails.
How to get there
Take Northwest Bay Road (off either Hwy 19 or Hwy 19A) to Stewart Road. Follow Stewart Road to the end.
This short trail through the Englishman River Estuary Nature Reserve is a favourite amongst bird watchers. Every spring during the Brant Festival there is a beginners bird watching program held at the Shelley Road Community Hall. One year that I attended there was a sighting of a rare mountain blue bird near the bird watching platform. There is a small network of trails to be explored here, but for the purpose of this hike I’ve stayed around the perimeter.
Directions: From the intersection of the Old Island Highway and Shelley Road, drive north 0.4 Kilometers and park at the end of Shelley Road.
Turn right just before the gate and head east to the bank of the Englishman River. Turn left along the river taking care to avoid any of the cut banks that are barricaded off in order to prevent further erosion of the riverbank. Make your way to the dike that borders the estuary and proceed west to the bird watching platform. Continue along the dike that leads to Surfside Resort. Return back along the dike, turn right at the platform and follow the trail back to the foot of Mill Street. Turn left and follow the trail along the edge of the Nature Reserve back to Shelly Road. Total time for this 2.42 Km loop is a little over 30 minutes.
South of Errington is a charming Provincial Park with spectacular waterfalls, excellent trails, picnic areas and campsites. During the winter months, there currently is no parking fee. The trails in the park are well maintained and posted with signs. For more information visit: www.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/englishm.htm
Directions: From the south end of the day use parking area, head south past the washrooms to the upper bridge over the Englishman River. After crossing the bridge, turn left and follow the trail downstream to the lower bridge. After crossing the bridge follow the trail back uphill to the parking lot. Total time for this short loop is 20 minutes.
This trail features sandy beaches, fabulous ocean views, unique architecture and stately homes. It can easily be combined with Columbia Beach East to form a longer walk. This is a particularly nice hike at low tide when the broad sandy beach is fully exposed.
Directions: From the beach access at the end of Johnstone Road walk west for 25 minutes along the waterfront to the beach access at the end of Seacrest Place. Leave the beach at the sitting area and turn left on Seacrest Place. Head up the hill at the next beach access by the Porta-Potty and then turn left on Pintail Drive. Turn left on Johnstone Road and return to the beginning.