The Comox Valley is very fortunate to have a marine park in its own backyard.
Anyone can access it either by kayak, boat, or hike to it at low tide for a great day on a wonderful island.
Tree Island is the local name for the BC Park, formally called Sandy Island Marine Park. Every year families enjoy summer days camping or having a picnic on this Island with its breath-taking scenery of mainland and island mountains.
It requires some attention to keep this beautiful island in pristine condition. With the summer traffic to the island and the winter fishery in Baynes Sound, Tree Island requires some cleaning up to keep it in shape for visitors to enjoy during the high season.
That duty goes to the Comox Valley Yacht Club (CVYC) as “stewards of Tree Island.” In collaboration with BC Parks, CVYC conducts a spring cleanup and a summer weekend monitoring program.
On April 20 this year, club members will go to Tree Island to anchor their boats, then dinghy to the island to walk its perimeter, picking up any garbage along the way. All the flotsam and jetsam, even items like a bed frame or tires are collected.
The BC Shellfish Association readily assists in disposing of the refuse. Bathrooms are cleaned and painted. BC Parks is notified of any required signage repair. Afterwards, club members relax and enjoy a barbeque on shore.
The stewardship duties continue throughout the summer with club members monitoring the island during weekends. Tying their boat to the buoy, they track traffic to the island and educate users on fire safety as well as the flora and fauna. Open fires are not permitted, but campers can use camp stoves.
The CVYC works closely with BC Parks, Forestry and the RCMP. The public have said that they appreciate having club boats on duty, identified with a banner declaring Marine Park Host – BC Parks.
The Comox Valley Yacht Club takes its stewardship role seriously and members enjoy meeting with the public. The club is proud to have been a steward of Tree Island for the past 13 years.
For information on the yacht club, see www.comoxvalleyyachtclub.com. For membership information, call Sue at 250-898-8333 or Bonnie at 250-941-8432.
— Comox Valley Yacht Club