Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park
is a provincial park
in British Columbia
In 1959, the Province of British Columbia purchased Mitlenatch from a local family and in 1961 it was designated as a Provincial Nature Park. Mitlenatch is a Native Indian word with a number of meanings. In Coast Salish it has been translated to mean ‘calm waters all around’. Perhaps the most descriptive meaning comes from the Sliammon language where ‘metl’ meant calm and ‘nach’ meant posterior. Calm (waters) behind is an apt description of the island during stormy weather. In the Kwak'wala
language of the Kwakwaka'wakw
, ‘mah-kwee-lay-lah’ meant "it looks close, but seems to move away as you approach it".
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park is home to the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia. Glaucous-winged gulls
, pelagic cormorants
, pigeon guillemots
, rhinoceros auklets
and black oystercatchers
also return to Mitlenatch each spring to breed. All sedentary marine life, including abalones
and sea cucumbers
are fully protected within this zone. Some of the largest garter snakes
in BC reside here. These snakes are frequently encountered along trails and in beach and tide pool areas, where they feed on small fish such as sculpins and blennies. This park is a favourite haul out for harbour seals
, Northern & California sea lions
. The sea lions are generally present from late autumn to mid-May. River otters
, killer whales
and harbour porpoises
are often sighted offshore.
The following recreational activities are available: canoeing and kayaking around the island and nature watching. Due to the sensitive bird habitat, most of the island is closed to the public. A short trail from Camp Bay to Northwest Bay is the only area accessible to visitors.
Located 45 kilometres
northeast of Courtenay, British Columbia
in the Strait of Georgia
155 hectares in size.