In the decades before the Pacific Rim National Park was born in 1970, this moss-laden landscape of mist and surf was a little-known outpost, a world apart. If adventurers managed to coax a vehicle across the tortuous road that led west from Port Alberni to the isolated ports of Tofino and Ucluelet, finding a bed was a simple matter at one of the few local inns. The alternative was constructing a driftwood shelter on one of the fabulous beaches nearby.
One million visitors a year now make this same journey on black-topped highway 4 (Pacific Rim Highway) to experience the romantic isolation of the region. It's a tribute to the scale of this environment that so many travellers can be absorbed into it and still leave it so (apparently) empty.
The open ocean stretches off unbroken and vacant, while the elemental forces at play here - the winds and the tide, the sun and the rain - excite within visitors a deep-seated resonance, a sense of belonging to this place. Undoubtedly, the same chaos that reigns in winter during gale-force storms mimics, on a microcosmic scale at least, the fury of the Big Bang. And on eternal summer evenings, when a magenta sunset ignites the ocean's summer evenings, there's a peace so prevalent that you could almost bottle it and call it salvation. Take your pick of moods; they're both soul-satisfying.
Nowhere else on earth has the meeting of land and sea created the magnificent beauty of Canada's Pacific Coast. The spectacular Pacific Rim National Park is the only national park on Vancouver Island, providing protection for substantial rainforests and an amazing marine environments on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The full force of the mighty Pacific Ocean mercilessly pounds the constantly changing shores of this rugged coastline.
The territory now known as the Pacific Rim National Park has a significant history, having been inhabited by the Nuu-chah-nulth people for thousands of years. A rich natural heritage evolved as Vancouver Island became isolated from the mainland, retaining a great diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species.
This unique park encompasses a total area of 49,962 hectares of land and ocean in three separate geographic units - Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. Features of the park include long sandy beaches, an island archipelago, old-growth coastal temperate rainforest and significant Nuu-chah-nulth archaeological sites.
Recreational and outdoor adventure opportunities in the Pacific Rim National Park are numerous: