Project Type Parks & Trails
Project Status Construction
Project Area Juan de Fuca; Langford; Sooke
Estimated Cost $2,000,000
Estimated Start Date 01-Feb-2020
Estimated End Date 31-Oct-2020

Description

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is excited to open another Regional Park. The Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park (SHW) is the largest park in the regional park system, protecting over 4,000 hectares of regionally significant hills and forest lands, and providing a natural area buffer to the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area. When open, the park will feature a network of wilderness recreational trails and a connection to the Sea to Sea Regional Park.

Current Activity

The CRD will be working to develop a roughly 60 stall parking lot adjacent to the Sooke Highway, highway access lanes, a pit-toilet building, at least 20kms of trails, and a multi-use bridge over Veitch Creek.

The SHW park management plan identified a preferred location for a southern access into the park. This location was subsequently confirmed through environmental analysis of various options and a detailed design was finalized for the parking lot project. The project will be tendered in February, with construction occurring during quarter one to three of 2020. This will allow safe access to the southern section of the park once complete. An environmental monitor will be present during all phases of the parking lot project to mitigate any potential environmental impacts.

Background

SHW consists of two separate land areas located on either side of the Goldstream catchment. The northern section opened in 2017, and the southern section will open fall 2020. SHW is part of the Sea-to-Sea Green Blue Belt, a protected 10,200 hectare corridor stretching from Saanich Inlet in the east to the Juan de Fuca Strait in the west.

The province established the park in May 1997 with Bill 17 (Capital Region Water Supply and Sooke Hills Protection Act), which designated non-catchment lands of the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area as regional park. The province identified as the highest priority in the management of the park the protection of the adjacent water supply lands and secondarily, the protection of the park’s natural environment and provision of compatible outdoor recreation activities. Bill 17 required that a park management plan be prepared; this plan was developed with the assistance of a public advisory committee and it was approved by the CRD and the province in 2001.  

Opening the Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness regional parks to the public was subsequently identified as a Board priority in the 2015-2018 CRD Corporate Plan. Since 2015, Regional Parks has undertaken a multi-year, phased approach to opening the two parks.

The Sea to Sea Regional Park was opened in two phases between 2016 and 2019, and the northern section of SHW opened in 2017 with the completion of the Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail. The southern section of SHW will open in 2020 with the development of required park services and facilities.

An official trail system plan is being developed to connect the parking lot to key park destinations. Once the park is open, visitors will be able to navigate through SHW by referring to newly installed park wayfinding signs and maps. Overall, facilities and services will be minimal in keeping with the park’s designation as a Regional Wilderness Area and to protect the adjacent water supply lands. 

Alerts & Notices

  • Area in Southern section of Sooke Hills Wilderness Closed

    Area closed June 8 – July 6, 2020 due to trail construction and development of a southern access to Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park.

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