Proclaimed in 1970, this park, situated along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian Province of British Columbia, has an area of 511 sq km (197 sq mi). It lies between the Vancouver Island Range and the open Pacific Ocean.
Its cool and wet maritime climate produces an abundance of life in the water and on land. The resources of this vast ocean and temperate rain forests have traditionally supported the social, cultural, and economic well-being of the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
The First Nations name, Nuu-chah-nulth, or “along the mountains and sea”, refers to the territories along the 300 km (186 mi) stretch of Vancouver Island’s west coast – from Brooks Peninsula in the north to Point-no-Point in the south, and to the Vancouver Island Range in the east.
The term “rain forest” refers to an open forest of trees so twisted and stunted they look like broccoli, reaching up from a mass of thick, wet moss, drenched in rain that collects in pools. It also refers to a forest of trees so huge, tall and ancient we all look like little children beside them.
It is a world of vivid green moss, arching ferns, and a mass of plants so thick it is impossible to see the soil beneath it.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada is composed of three geographically separate units:
- The Long Beach Unit is located between the villages of Ucluelet and Tofino, and named after the 16 km (10 miles) sandy beach of Wickaninnish Bay.
- The Broken Group Islands Unit is an archipelago of more than one hundred islands and rocks scattered throughout Barkley Sound and is accessible by boat only.
- The West Coast Trail Unit is a 75 km (47 mile) backpacking route along temperate rainforest, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, caves, sea arches, sea stacks, and beaches.
Along the vast beaches is one of Canada’s rarest ecosystems — the sand dunes. Sand dunes are fragile environments and Parks Canada is working hard to ensure their long-term survival.
See maps of the park.
See also: National Parks of Canada.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)