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Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park
About This Park
Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park, located in beautiful Trincomali Channel between the northern ends of Saltspring Island and Galiano Island, is a popular destination for boaters and kayakers exploring the southern Gulf Islands.
The numerous beaches, coves and offshore islets provide plenty of sheltered paddling opportunities in this picturesque park, which is ideal for day trips from Vancouver Island and overnight camping. Bald eagles, black-tailed deer and mink are common in the park, as well as harbour seals, sea lions and river otters, which can often be spotted offshore.
This park has limited development, but offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing and hiking. Walking trails will take you throughout most of the park, providing views of the folded rock formations that compose the island. Facilities are limited to an information shelter, pit toilets, picnic tables and 18 walk-in campsites at the designated camping areas of Conover Point, Chivers Point and Cabin Bay. Campfires are not permitted. A small dock is available at Conover Cove, as well as an octagonal dingy dock at Princess Bay. Sheltered anchorage and stern tie rings are available in Conover Cove and Princess Bay.
Know Before You Go
- The entrance to Conover Cove is shallow at low tide and care must be exercised to avoid grounding. Boaters should approach the park with caution, due to numerous reefs and shoals in the area.
- Potable drinking water is not provided in this park.
- Please do not discharge sewage or grey water while moored here – it is against park regulations.
- Boaters should not tie up at the portion of the dock reserved for BC Parks staff.
- There are two private properties on the island; please respect them.
Maximum vessel length for the dock is 11 metres or 36 feet year-round.
Dock Facilities Use Fee: $2.00 per metre / night
- Reservations are not accepted at this park; all campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Nature and Culture
History: This island, originally charted as “Narrow Island”, was named after Capt. Wallace Houstoun, who first surveyed the area in the 1850s. Twisted fruit trees mark the remnants of the garden and orchard planted by Jeremiah Chivers, a Scotsman who retired here after unsuccessful adventures in the interior gold rushes. Chivers lived alone on the island, never marrying, and died here in 1927 at the age of 92.
After the Second World War, David Conover purchased the island and moved here with his wife Jeanne. The couple developed a very successful holiday resort on Wallace Island, and Conover became a successful author, writing four books – “Once Upon An Island”, “One Man’s Island”, “Sitting On A Saltspring” and “Finding Marilyn, A Resource”. In the first two books he described the couple’s struggles and joys after their purchase of the land in 1946. Their resort, the Royal Cedar Cottages, was advertised as having “a modern well-stocked store, cabins, recreation hall and boat rentals.” In the mid to late 1960s, Conover sold the majority of the island to a group of teachers from Seattle. Disagreements among the owners led to court proceedings and the property was again put up for sale. Wallace Island was purchased through the court ordered sale and became a provincial marine park in 1990 through the cooperative efforts of the provincial government and BC Marine Parks Forever.
- Conservation: The flora of this island is typical of many of the Gulf Islands – with dry summers, many plants are adapted to germinate and grow in the winter, flower in early spring and become dormant by early summer. The best time for botanical viewing is March through May.
- Wildlife: Black-tailed deer are the largest land animals in the park. Sightings of river otters, mink and harbour seals are common. Sea lions can be found in the area in winter, but disappear during the height of the breeding season in July and August. The number of Bald eagles has greatly increased in the area in the last 30 years and are now frequently sighted. Bird watching here is most productive in the spring, winter and fall.
- Management Planning Information
- Online management planning information for this park is not available at this time.
Activities Available at this Park
The park is surrounded by ocean waters and provides saltwater fishing opportunities, subject to periodic closures.
Rockfish Conservation Areas occur within this park. Fishing activities are limited in Rockfish Conservation Areas. Before you go fishing please refer to the Rockfish Conservation Area descriptions available from Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
A series of fairly flat, well-maintained walking/hiking trails travel throughout the park, providing views of the folded rock formations that compose the island. Head south to Panther Point, named after the Panther, a ship that ran aground here in 1874. A trail also leads partway out to the point at Princess Cove, as well as one that leads to Chivers Point at the northwest end of the park. An information shelter at the head of the wharf at Conover Cove offers more details on walking routes.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
A picnic shelter and open grass fields offer day-use opportunities at Conover Cove.
Docking facilities are located at Conover Cove, as well as stern tie rings at both Conover Cove and Princess Cove. Anchorage is available in Conover Cove and Princess Cove. When anchoring, please ensure you are not blocking stern tie rings or access to and from the docks. The entrance to Conover Cove is shallow at low tide and care must be exercised to avoid grounding. Boaters should not tie up at the portion of the dock reserved for BC Parks staff.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park has 3 designated walk-in camping areas that are accessible by boat, only:
- Conover Cove: approximately 8 open field sites
- Chivers Point: 9 tent pad sites
- Cabin Bay: 1 camping area with 3 tent pad sites
Chivers Point and Cabin Bay are ideal for kayak camping. Fees apply for overnight camping and are payable at self-registration vaults.
Please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics. Garbage facilities are not provided; visitors must pack out all of their garbage.
Please ensure you camp and hike in designated areas. Human disturbance of the vegetation leads to erosion of the sensitive shoreline and the potential destruction of archeological sites.
Fees for overnight camping apply year-round and are payable at self-registration vaults or through the Backcountry Registration System.
BC Parks Backcountry Registration System allows you to purchase a backcountry camping permit before leaving home. Although the system does not reserve a campsite, the system provides visitors the convenience of prepaying for their trip and not having to carry cash. We encourage all visitors to register online so we can reduce the need to collect fees in the field.