Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Backed by the Vancouver Island Mountain Range and facing the open Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve protects the rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada’s west coast, and helps share the stories of this treasured place with Canadians and visitors from around the world. The cool and wet maritime climate produces an abundance of life in the water and on land. Lush coastal temperate rainforest gives way to bountiful and diverse intertidal and subtidal areas. These natural wonders are interwoven with the long and dynamic history of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, and European explorers and settlers.
Federal Infrastructure Project Completion
Roads to and through the national park reserve take visitors to iconic places like Long Beach and Green Point Campground. As a main artery through the national park reserve, Parks Canada’s investment in Highway 4 ensures the safety of visitors, while encouraging them to stay away from sensitive ecological areas since these investments will provide them with the necessities to explore and adventure outside.
Highlights of the completed work to Highway 4, adjacent roadways, bridge, and culverts include:
Project Name: Highway 4 repairs, repaving and line painting
Project Description: The 21.4 km section of Highway 4 running through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was identified by Parks Canada as a priority infrastructure project as it was at the end of its useful life. Now complete, the repairs, repaving, and line painting work will improve the safety and comfort of visitors and community members, while reducing long-term maintenance costs to the national park reserve and adding many years of useful service life to the highway. This work also included the replacement of eight roadside Jersey barriers (used to separate lanes of traffic) with barriers that have larger openings to facilitate the flow of water, thereby enhancing motorist safety and reducing maintenance.
Project Name: Pedestrian-controlled crosswalk installation at Rainforest Trails A and B
Project Description: The new pedestrian-controlled crosswalk replaces the existing crosswalk and further enhances pedestrian and motorist safety, by providing motorists ample warning to slow down and stop to allow pedestrians to safely cross the highway.
Project Name: Highway 4 wayfinding signage, including four LED signs, installation
Project Description: Parks Canada is installing eight wayfinding signs along the highway to connect residents and visitors to services and attractions. Four additional LED signs are being placed at the south boundary for northbound travellers, Wick Road, Long Beach parking lot, and Radar Hill for southbound traffic to help relay critical, safety information in real-time for motorists and visitors.
Project Name: Alder tree clearing
Project Description: Safety is a top priority for Parks Canada, and the removal of alder trees was an important step in improving motorist safety on Highway 4. Alder trees that were identified as hazardous, and considered a public safety and maintenance concern, were removed by a certified utility arborist. This will maintain appropriate clear-zones necessary for sight-lines on the roadside and minimize the hazard of trees falling across the highway. This clearing will also result in increased sun exposure to the road in winter, which will improve safety by reducing icy conditions on the highway.
Parks Canada strives to complete all projects in an environmentally and culturally sensitive way, and some of the alder wood was provided to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ for their use, and the rest has been chipped for use in the national park reserve.
Project Name: Highway 4 and Kennedy Lake culvert replacements, and the Wick Road Bridge build
Project Description: Five culverts along Highway 4 were replaced as they were either aging or had deteriorated beyond repair. To achieve efficiencies, five additional culverts were also replaced as part of this project on Swim Beach Road at Kennedy Lake. The new culverts will improve drainage and ensure road sustainability.
The Wick Road culvert on Sandhill Creek in particular was a barrier for salmon attempting to reach spawning grounds and nursery habitat. To address this, Parks Canada replaced the culvert with a bridge to achieve significant conservation gains by creating a fish-friendly environment under and around it. The project was the largest effort in salmon habitat restoration in the national park reserve’s history. As a result of the new infrastructure, the creek is flowing freely for the first time in 18 years, opening up additional spawning habitat for adult salmon and safe nursery areas for juveniles, as well as feeding grounds for bears. The restoration of this stream has benefits for the ecosystem and the subsequent long-term protection of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.