Explore the Trails – Paddling the Copeland Islands
The trails of the Sunshine Coast offer a wide array of experiences for travellers of all levels and walks of life. Ranging in length, difficulty, and medium of experience (by foot, bike, kayak…) the Coast’s trails are the epitome of the pristine beauty and epic landscapes of British Columbia. Join the adventure and share your photos with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube using #sunshinecoastbc. Happy trails!
Paddling the Copeland Islands
We’ve got another great guest blog thanks to Footprint Nature Explorations. Owners and operators John Hermsen and Christy Krebber love to share their passion for the Sunshine Coast and its nearly endless outdoor activities. They are specialized in guided day- and multi-day Sea Kayaking and Hiking Tours and also offer a variety of engaging Package Deals.
The Copeland Islands offer one of the best kayak experiences when staying in the Powell River and Lund area. This fantastic group of islands and islets is located just north of Lund and often ‘forgotten’ by a majority of kayakers, as they rush towards Desolation Sound. This picturesque provincial marine park is named after a local character whose name was Joe Copeland and is also known as ‘the Raggeds’.
The best way to access these islands is to use the lovely hamlet of Lund as your starting point. The Lund area offers a variety of first class accommodations and campgrounds, as well as a convenience store and some very well-known restaurants, galleries, kayak-outfitters and a world famous bakery. The government boat launch is located in ‘downtown’ Lund Harbour.
When padding away from the hustle and bustle in the harbour you’ll just follow the Salish Sea’s rugged shore-line in a northerly direction. After rounding the first corner (Sevilla Island) the Copelands get in sight, but still they are about 45 minutes of paddling away. Stay away from the boat traffic in Thulin Pass by ‘hand-railing’ the Malaspina Peninsula and cross Thulin Pass from a small rocky islet to the white beacon on the first Copeland Island. Welcome to the Copeland Islands!
From here on you can explore the islands and islets from south to north and back, spend as much time as you can or have. Be respectful to the many First Nation sites and features you will find, such as fish traps, shell-middens, culturally modified trees, and hieroglyphs. Use traditional canoe-skids to land and leave some space on the canoe-skids for other recreational users to come on land and enjoy the beauty and stunning views.
Are you planning a multi-day adventure? BC Parks has created designated campsites with tent-platforms and outhouses in the northern part of this marine park. As of this year, back-country camping fees apply to all campers. For information, visit the BC Parks website.
Make sure to keep a keen eye open for wildlife; from bald eagles to seals and river otters and also the occasional orca (killer whale). At a lower tide, many colourful ocean-critters inhabit the tidal zone. During the four seasons you will also find other residents such as sea lions and migrating birds. On the shores of the mainland and the Copelands, sightings of deer, black bears (mainland) and even wolf have been reported during the last few years.
Geocaches are hidden on multiple islands and will bring you to some of the best spots on these islands.
The Copeland Islands are truly a year-round kayak destination and all seasons offer something special for you to discover.
Share your adventure with us using #sunshinecoastbc! Happy paddling!