Places to Explore: Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area
The spectacular Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area (PQBWMA) is rich in beauty and in wildlife. It has rocky, pebble and sandy beaches, foreshore gravel bars, and includes the estuaries of the Englishman and Little Qualicum Rivers.
This natural gem runs along the east coast of Vancouver Island from Parksville’s Craig Bay to the Little Qualicum River north of Qualicum Beach. It is within a designated Important Bird and Biodiversity Area of Canada. It’s quite the place!
Over 100,000 waterbirds come to feed in the productive foreshore waters of this wildlife management area. This critical habitat is on the migration route for over 60 waterbird species including Pacific Brant Sea Goose. Without this rest and feeding area, many of these birds would not be able to complete their migrations to reach their nesting habitats. Many birds would not survive the journey.
The estuaries and foreshore zones also provide vital rearing habitat to all Pacific salmon species, two species of trout and millions of herring spawn each spring on the abundant Eel Grass and algal beds. Sea lions, seals, porpoise, orcas and whales are all drawn to this area to feed.
The Coast Salish First Nations settled in this area thousands of years ago and still live here today. Later, European settlers were drawn to the area’s abundant natural resources bringing logging, fishing, tourism and growth.
Concerned about increasing threats to this sensitive coastal ecosystem, in 1993 the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources designated this coastal strip a provincial Wildlife Management Area for the conservation of estuarine and foreshore habitat used by waterfowl and fish.
Our communities surrounded by a great diversity of life. Let’s celebrate it and take care of it!