The nature parks of Cumberland, Comox and Campbell River are living classrooms that foster an understanding and appreciation of nature through direct experiences. Educational programs for all ages encourage responsibility for the care and protection of the natural environment. Managed by the Village of Cumberland, Town of Comox and City of Campbell River these village and town refuges provide an exceptional opportunity to bring people and nature together.
All of these nature parks share something in common that sets the stage for a perfect classroom…they all have a natural environment, and with that comes forests, beaches, diversity in plant and animal life, salmon bearing streams, lush second growth forests, towering cedar and fir trees…and that’s just what a child’s eye can see! Imagine all that is out there that a child’s nose can smell, a child’s ear can hear, a child’s hand can touch and a child’s spirit can feel! These parks are not only the gateway to the Beaufort Mountains and the meeting grounds of where water and land gather, but they are the gateway and meeting grounds to building the foundation of a child’s entire learning experience, guided by their own process of thought and imagination: exploring ideas, defining goals, enhancing memory, naming objects, increasing strength, testing theories, improving communication and developing character.
These are just a few of the many developmental benefits that will aid in the progress of a child’s appreciation for nature, their education for the environment and their stewardship for the future.
Hand-In-Hand Early Years Nature Education Program was created for this reason alone, for what a child’s hand holds today affects what they reach for tomorrow.
Coal Creek Historic Park is the gateway to the Beaufort Mountains. The 40 hectare wilderness park encompasses “wetlands, salmon bearing streams, lush second growth forests, towering Douglas-fir trees, magical red cedar groves and rare western yew trees…and a variety of flora and fauna. The wetlands provide habitat for numerous bird species and are well known as a bird watching area. With headwaters in the Beaufort Mountains and fed by the ponds and wetlands in Coal Creek Historic Park, Perseverance Creek ultimately drains into Comox Lake. Fish species found in the creek include Coho salmon, Cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden and sculpin species. A covenant on the park protects these unique ecological values.” 1
1 Welcome to Coal Creek Historic Park map; Village of Cumberland Parks and Trails
The Filberg Park is known for its extensive gardens, with a stream running through the natural ravine. The park boasts various annuals and perennials, and hundreds of rhododendrons. With its particular microclimate, it offers the perfect environment for heathers, spring bulbs, flowering shrubs and dwarf conifers.
Mack Laing Nature Park is a second growth forest with the lushly vegetated and active salmon stream, Brooklyn Creek meandering through the property and entering the ocean under the Brooklyn Creek Bridge. This woodland is known for its large bird population, spring wildflowers and First Nations’ middens. At the waterfront, there are salt march plants, a huge population of birds and a rich coastal seashore ecosystem.
MacDonald Woods Nature Park is known for some of the oldest cedars in the Comox Valley, growing alongside fawn lilies, skunk cabbage and other lush plant life commonly found within coastal forests.
The Sportsplex is a multi-use facility located in Willow Point Park, a popular year-round recreational destination that offers a playground, picnic area and a network of easy walking trails. Adjacent to the park are the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands (BLFL), which are “located on the southern side of Campbell River, within the Simm’s Creek watershed.
The BLFL are located within the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimactic zone, which is typical for Vancouver Island. The drier portions of the forest grow species adapted to fire cycles such as douglas fir, big-leaf maple and red alder. Wetter areas favour red cedar, grand fir and sitka spruce. Due to experimental forestry practices in the 1930’s, several tree species now grow in the BLFL. This has created several diverse habitats, including areas with ‘old growth’ characteristics such as multi-level tree canopies and a well developed under story. ‘Snags’, or standing dead trees, create important habitat for cavity nesting birds and insects. Decaying logs on the forest floor provide habitat for plants, insects and other animals, as well as helping restore nutrients to the soil. The BLFL is home to several animal species including coho salmon and cutthroat trout in Simm’s Creek, as well as blacktail deer, black bears, bald eagles, owls, small birds and waterfowl.”1
1 Map and Information Guide; Greenways Land Trust, Beaver Lodge Forest Lands
“Take away our forests and you take away our ability to learn. Take away our forests and you take away our ability to play. Take away our forests you take away our ability to connect. Thanks to the great efforts of the Cumberland Community Forest Society, not only have they saved our forests, but they have saved our teacher, our playground and our community. From an educational perspective, when you take away our forest…you take away our school!”
Support the Forest
With the help of the Cumberland Community Forest Societies Community Partners, Legacy Donors and Guardians, the CCFS has purchased 71 hectares of forest lands surrounding the Village of Cumberland since 2000. They have now set their sights on another 50 hectares of forests scheduled to be logged by 2016. Click the logo to the right to learn about ways to contribute.