What a pleasure it is to hike the Sooke hills, Empress Mountain, the Potholes, and the whole area within the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt.
To date more than 10,200 hectares of the proposed Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt is provincial, regional and municipal park land, including Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, Goldstream Provincial Park, Sooke Mountain Provincial Park, and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve. An area of land sizeable enough to sustain whole ecosystems, this gem provides habitat for a wide variety of species, including the iconic bald eagle, the elusive black bear, and numerous rare and endangered plants and animals. While much of the land is covered with second-growth forest, pockets of old-growth persist, and many of the streams and rivers support salmon spawning.
The main reason this wilderness area provides such a lush and healthy ecosystem is because there is no vehicle traffic allowed in this park system. Access must be limited to non-motor traffic or else the integrity and health of these parks will be lost. The encroachment of vehicles would inevitability bring too many human behaviors, noise, and pollution issues that are detrimental to a truly “wilderness experience” and would damage the restoration work that has been done (mostly by nature herself). With the provincial Liberals opening up park lands to resource extraction there is less and less area that is not vulnerable to human exploitation.
I would like to thank the CRD, TLC, Habitat Acquisition Trust, The Society for the Protection of Ayum Creek, and local municipalities for working together and having the vision and tenacity in creating such a magnificent wilderness area that is revered and appreciated by so many. I think what gets forgotten quite often is that these areas are not protected merely for people to enjoy, but for the wildlife and natural elements to thrive in and stay healthy. The heath of these ecosystems keeps us all healthier and happier. Keep up the great work and keep out the vehicles.