Pirates Cove Marine Provincial Park is a popular destination for boaters exploring the southern Gulf Islands. The park offers a perfect environment for a variety of recreational activities, including kayaking, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, beach exploration and wildlife viewing.
Unusual sandstone rock formations line the shoreline at Pirates Cove. Poison oak can also be found along steep rock outcroppings in the cove.
This scenic marine park has a colourful natural and cultural history. Its settlement history ranges from extensive First Nations use to a homestead for the Aquarian Foundation, a religious cult led by Brother XII, who convinced 8,000 followers to give up their worldly possessions and follow him to De Courcy Island in the 1920s and early 30s.
Several middens in the park indicate First Nations use of the land dating back more than 3,000 years. The largest of these shell refuse heaps underlies the present campground. Today, this intertidal area is still abundant with a variety of shellfish and marine life.
Common marine mammals include harbour seals, Steller’s and California sea lions (common from late August through to mid-May) and River Otters may be seen early in the morning basking in the sun. Visitors may catch glimpses of harbour porpoises or orcas, as well as Gray and Humpback whales in the summer.
Birdwatchers will find Wilson’s warblers, Pacific-slope flycatchers, Black oystercatchers, White crowned sparrows and other species breeding in the park. Bald eagles, Great blue herons and scores of others use the park for foraging and resting.
Open year round. There are 12 campsites; 2 day use dinghy docks – one on either side of the cove, sheltered anchorage and mooring rings for larger vessels. Dinghys can go ashore at the south end beach thru Ruxton Pass to access the campground. Fires are not permitted in the park or on the beach at any time. Bring a CSA approved device for cooking. Racoons are numerous – remember to store food in containers. This is a PACK IN, PACK OUT park, there are no disposal facilities.
Backcountry pre-registration is now available on-line @ http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/registration. Please keep a copy of your Backcountry Permit with you as proof of payment.