|Vancouver Island Nature Viewing Region|
|Comox Valley Area|
|Sandy (Tree) Island ( Jáji7em and Kw’ulh ) Marine Provincial Park|
Bill Heybroek drawing
|Tree Island from Longbeak Point: Krista Kaptein photo||Larkspur & chickweed meadow: Krista Kaptein photo|
|Small islands are special places to visit, and Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park is no exception. Accessible by foot from the northern tip of Denman Island, or by boat from Union Bay on Vancouver Island, the park includes Sandy Island, known locally as “Tree Island” and the smaller Seal Islets. This sensitive, fragile ecosystem has several unusual species, such as the rare Sand-verbena Moth. In the spring the wildflower displays are spectacular: gold star, Menzies’ larkspur, chocolate lilies and sea blush to name a few. Be sure to pack binoculars, as bird watching is excellent at any time of year. An active Bald Eagle nest in a Douglas-fir tree can be found in the island’s small patch of forest. The surrounding beaches and gravel flats are exceptional for shorebirds; large flocks of Dunlin and Western Sandpipers can be seen here, and keep an eye out for the occasional Ruddy Turnstone or Golden Plover. Off shore there are congregations of ducks, and Brant Geese in the spring. Sandy Island Park is only accessible by foot at low tides, so be sure to check a tide guide to avoid being stranded.|
|Geographical Description||Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park off the northern tip of Denman Island includes the island known locally as Tree island, as well as other small islands called the Seal Islets, all surrounded by white sand beaches and shell middens.|
|Area/ Trail Length||Sandy (Tree) Island is about 18 ha. The additional area accessible at low tide is about 200 ha.|
|Habitat||Moss-covered meadow; sandy sea coast ecosystem, sand & cobble beach, small forest, ancient middens.|
|Highlights||Abundant wildflowers , shorebirds & seabirds.|
|Best Season||Spring & summer for flowers and shorebirds.|
|Main Access||Tree Island is accessible by foot at tides lower than 2.5 m. , which only occur in the daytime in summer months. Public access is from the end of Gladstone Way on Denman. Hike 2.8 km along the cobble shore north to Longbeak Point, then another 1 km across the sand flats to Tree Island. A newer public access is from the end of The Point Road through Morning Beach Park. A staircase leads down the 30m high bluff, then hike 2.4 km along the shore to Tree Island.|
|Secondary Accesses||By boat: the nearest boat launch is from Union Bay 4.5 km to the south-west.|
|Cautions||Be aware of tides to avoid being stranded. Use caution while hiking cobble beach.|
|Jurisdiction||BC Provincial Park. |
Intertidal zone: Provincial MOE;
Fish & fish habitat: Federal DFO.
|Birds||Bald Eagle & nest, Common Loon, Brant, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Harlequin Duck, Bufflehead, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Common Raven, Killdeer, Semi-palmated Plover, Caspian Tern, Glaucous-winged Gull, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow.|
|Mammals||Black-tailed Deer, Otter, Harbour Seal.|
|Intertidal Life||Invertebrates: Calcareous tube worms, sea anemones. |
Molluscs: barnacles, limpets.
Crustaceans: kelp crab, shore crab.
Shellfish: clams, mussels, mud snail, Japanese Oysters, moon snail, sand dollar.
Sea stars: purple, ochre, sunflower stars.
|Insects||Butterflies: anise swallowtail.|
|Trees||Douglas-fir, arbutus, trembling aspen,grand fir, bitter cherry, some redcedar.|
|Shrubs||Red-flowering currant, tall Oregon grape, honeysuckle, thimbleberry, Nootka rose, black hawthorn, Saskatoon, snowberry, salmonberry.|
|Flowering Plants||Sea blush, blue-eyed Mary, goldstar, spring-gold, woodland star, chocolate lily, Menzie's larkspur, Indian consumption plant, field chickweed, miner's lettuce, field mustard, silver burweed, yellow sand-verbena, Hooker's onion, large-headed sedge, yellow monkeyflower on Denman bluffs.|
|Ferns, Lichens, Mosses||Bracken fern, sword fern.|
|Invasive/Non- native species||Invasive: Scotch broom, daphne laurel.|
|Geology||About 8000 or 9000 years ago, this sandy archipelago was connected to Willemar Bluffs on the Comox Peninsula with a bank of dunes, forming a ‘super-estuary’ between Denman and Vancouver Island. The waters are now known as Comox Bay & Baynes Sound, and the submerged sandbar that remains, the Comox Bar, is still tricky to navigate at low tide.|
|Regulations||Fires prohibited; pets on leash; stay on trails.|
|Facilities||Pit toilets, park signage.|
|FMI||Sandy Island Provincial Park|
|Comox Valley Regional District Parks|
|K'omoks Important Bird Area|
|Comox Valley Yacht Club|
|Island Nature: Sandy Island|
|Denman Island Parks and Greenways Master Plan|
|Coastal Shore Jurisdiction in BC pdf|