Just a bit out of town … located in the community of Metchosin … is a beautiful gem of a park called Witty’s Lagoon.
Explore and Discover
Begin your exploration of Witty’s Lagoon at the Nature Information Centre. Check out the interpretive displays on the lagoon’s natural and cultural history, and find out what’s in season. CRD Parks Naturalists will give you a sense of direction before you hit the trails.
Adjacent to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in the Bilston Creek Watershed, lies Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, a harmonious blend of protected natural environments.
Enter through a dark woodland of immense Douglas-fir: the Songhees people made fishing hooks from this wood’s knots. Broadleaf Maple is also common here, called “Paddle-Tree” in a number of Coast Salish languages, a reference to its carving use.
Running through the forest is Bilston Creek, its edges laced with delicate Lady Fern. The creek tumbles toward a waterfall, then spills over volcanic rock-a trickle in Summer, and a thunderous cascade in Winter-misting Ocean Spray and Stonecrop clinging to the cliff.
Where fresh water meets salt water, the lagoon is formed. Wind, tide, and current create an environment teeming with life. The calm, nutrient-rich waters are warm and shallow, valuable as nurseries for animals which tolerate both salt and fresh water, and feed on the microscopic life flourishing here.
Further on lies the salt marsh, a tidal zone bordering the lagoon. Here channels of salt water create new territory for tiny snails, rock crabs and fish which migrate from the ocean. A thick carpet of green covers the marsh. This is Glasswort; in Summer it is entwined in the orange stems of Saltmarsh Dodder, a parasitic plant. Many of the plants found in the saltmarsh are critical for wintering wildfowl which feed in this area.
Beyond, a wide beach beckons. Few plants and animals survive the rolling, churning movement of sand here. But just
below the surface are those who have adapted: burrowers such as Bloodworms find food among the tiny grains; Bent-nose Clams, filter feeders, strain food out of the water; and browsers like Purple Shore Crabs eat decomposing plants and animals. Above the high water mark, tall rye grasses rustle in the wind, and Beach Pea and Sea Rocket grow among the driftwood.
At the edge of the saltmarsh, a narrow spit is home to sprawling plants like Silver Burweed and rare Yellow Sand Verbena. Waves push and mould this long bank, carrying and sorting sand from a nearby eroding cliff. If the spit ever meets the far shore, the lagoon will disappear, as the saltmarsh slowly takes over.
- Nature centre
- Large salt marsh, excellent for bird watching at any time of year, and sand dune ecosystem
- More than five kilometres of trails through woodland, past lagoon and marsh
- Sandy beach overlooking rocky headlands and offshore islets
- Sitting Lady Falls
Trail Rating: Moderate – warning … steep drop offs on some sections use caution. Can be muddy at times.
Size: 58.21 hectares
Location: Metchosin Road in Metchosin
Hours: 8am to sunset
- Accessible Nature Centre and teaching shelter
- Accessible toilets at the nature centre, teaching shelter and Tower Point. Pit toilets at the beach, Whitney Griffiths Point and near Sitting Lady Falls
- Picnic areas at the nature centre, Tower Point and the beach
- Main entrance paved parking lot has parking for 55+ vehicles, room for full-size buses,
- Tower Point gravel parking lot provides parking for 15 vehicles, plus grassed area for overflow parking (June-Sept)
- School parking lot has one accessible stall
- Information kiosks at the main entrance, beach and beach parking lot and Tower Point
- Bike rack at main entrance