The campground at Sooke Potholes Regional Park re-opened Friday under T’Sou-ke Nation management.
Sooke Potholes Spring Salmon Place campground will be operated by T’Sou-ke Nation under a pilot project with the Capital Regional District for the 2015 season.
“Our joint goals are to provide a high-quality camping experience, build positive government-to-government relationships and share information about the cultural significance of these lands with aboriginals and non-aboriginals,” said CRD Regional Parks committee chair Susan Brice.
The campground did not open last year because of the financial troubles facing The Land Conservancy of B.C., which had been managing the facility.
In April, it was announced that the regional district would take over the campground and two other sites at the potholes from The Land Conservancy and incorporate them into the regional park. The Land Conservancy transferred the properties to the regional district as part of its plan to climb out of $8 million in debt
Under an agreement to operate Sooke Potholes Regional Park Campground with CRD Regional Parks, T’Sou-ke Nation is responsible for all aspects of campground operations including public safety, camper registration, visitor services and operations and maintenance.
Capital infrastructure such as water tanks, lines, buildings and shelters will be maintained by CRD Regional Parks staff. The campground will operate seasonally.
T’Sou-ke Nation will employ four people to run the campsite, including a caretaker.
The potholes have significant value to the T’Sou-ke Nation.
“The Sooke Potholes is known to our people as KWL-UCHUN, (Spring Salmon Place), the place where the spring salmon give themselves back to mother earth – these are the teachings of our ancestors,” said T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes.
“We are the salmon people and our language follows the salmon route. We are directly connected to the resource; it’s a part of our identity.”
The 67-site RV and tent campground is located at the north end of Sooke Potholes Regional Park and adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail.
The Potholes, along the Sooke River, are unique geological formations of deep, polished rock pools, and carved canyons. These clear green pools are popular swimming areas linked by waterfalls and gorges, and surrounded by the forests of the Sooke Hills.
The camping season at Sooke Potholes closes Oct. 5.