In the Mood? Kayak to Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park

Inside Vancouver Barnet Marine Park Flickr DTB

Photo: Flickr DTB

Exploring new, easily accessible launch sites is often a spiritual experience for paddlers.  Of course, living in the Pacific Northwest we are extremely spoiled by the wide variety of paddling opportunities that surround us.  However, the search for short, local evening and afternoon paddle routes always looms large and without a doubt one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets is Barnet Marine Park.  Located in Burnaby, off the Barnet Highway, the area is a popular picnic and swimming area, yet often underutilized by paddlers.  Directly across from Admiralty Point, the kayak launch at Barnet Marine Park provides opportunities for adventurers to either paddle up Indian Arm, or to navigate along Burrard Inlet to Rocky Point Park in Port Moody.

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Picnic Area at Barnet Marine Park Photo: Rob Weiss

During our recent outing, we decided to gear up and head to Rocky Point.  To describe this paddle as a nature escape would be a mistake as the inlet is a busy commercial, industrial and residential area. As we plied the local waters, we found ourselves intrigued by the mix of industry, nature and residential housing all coexisting in a relatively small geographic area.  We paddled by sulphur piles and an old thermal electric generating station, and marvelled at the sight of seals hauled out on log booms.

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Needless to say, it was a surreal mix of industry and nature.  We noticed Cormorants making use of the docks to rest and seagulls taking advantage of the calm waters behind the oil containment booms.  We continued by the Reed Point Marina, home to the Reed Point Marine Education Centre, Pacific Wildlife Foundation and site of a major Steller Sea Lion research project.  Marine traffic was busy, and it too was a blend of commercial traffic and hobbyists.  Sailors and fishing vessels shared the waters and shipping lanes with enormous ocean going tankers.  It was certainly a leisurely paddle, and before we knew it Port Moody’s high rises were towering above us.

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Mix of industry and nature – seals & sulphur   Photo: Rob Weiss

Rocky Point, Port Moody’s best known park, seemed a logical place to pull ashore to stretch, rejuvenate and seek out a well-deserved ice cream.  We certainly were not alone!  Breweries, restaurants, walking trails and a Skookum splash park attract young and old to this 3.8-hectare family friendly park situated along the shores of Burrard Inlet.  People watching opportunities were abundant!

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Beach landing at Barnet Marine Park Photo: Rob Weiss

Our return paddle to Barnet Marine Park and our launch site was peaceful and uneventful.  The Ironworkers Memorial Bridge loomed large in the distance and served as a beacon for us. Once again, we were struck by the contrast of nature and industry, man-made beaches, urbanisation, shipping lanes, wildlife and sand flats. As we pondered this fragile coexistence, a curious seal poked his head up out of the water and followed our kayaks for a while.  His timely visit seemed to add an exclamation point to our thoughts!

Getting There:

From Vancouver, travel east on Hastings Street. Keep left on Barnet Highway, and follow the signs for the park.

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