Have you Met Doug? – Exploring Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Photo: R. Weiss

Photo: R. Weiss

Doug. Pseudotsuga menziesii. The Douglas Fir. My favourite tree.

My love affair with Doug began in the 1980’s while hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. I was in awe of the spectacular old growth forest and the majestic giant trees that towered over me. Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedars and Douglas Fir captured my imagination and stirred my soul. Fortunately, you don’t need to travel all the way to the West Coast Trail to experience a Coastal Rain Forest. In fact, Pacific Spirit Regional Park, a lush urban forest, is right outside our back door. Close and convenient, this regional park features 763 hectares of forest and foreshore and is one of my favourite places to visit Doug.

Photo: R. Weiss

Photo: R. Weiss

Located right on the doorstep to the University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit is a must-see for hikers, strollers, walkers, runners, cyclists and horse enthusiasts alike. You might be surprised to learn that the park sees an average of 360,000 dog visits per year. As an added treat for our four legged friends many of the trails are leash optional. With over 73 km of hiking trails and 50 km of equestrian trails there is a vast territory to explore.

Photo: R. Weiss

Photo: R. Weiss

I recently visited the park and decided to tackle the trail network. Well maintained and accessible the trail system opens the door for those wanting to connect with nature. As I meandered along trails with wonderful names like Sword Fern, Newt Loop, Lily of the Valley and Salish I quickly found myself losing track of time. Lush green moss covered the tree branches like velvet and a series of boardwalks protected the marshy ground and stream beds. There was a stillness in the air and it was difficult to believe I was in the middle of highly populated urban area. It was peaceful and soothing. Completely absorbed in the sights and sounds of the forest, I discovered I had meandered along the trail all the way to the waterfront.

Photo: R. Weiss

Photo: R. Weiss

Emerging from the forest at Acadia Beach, I was greeted by a group on horseback. Delighted by views of the North Shore Mountains and the city skyline, we all stopped to savour the moment. A dose of wilderness, meaningful encounters with Doug and a thriving metropolis – that is Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Photo: R. Weiss

Photo: R. Weiss

Have you visited Pacific Spirit Regional Park? What is your favourite trail?

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One Response to Have you Met Doug? – Exploring Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park

  1. Lee Harris

    Great photos, Rob, and wonderful description of the park. Keep up the good work.