Visitors to central Vancouver Island have a new destination to include on their itinerary with the reopening of Saysutshun (Au’ si:em siyeyu), the Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park.
Known as Saysutshun by the Snuneymuxw First Nation people, this family-friendly park is located just off shore of Nanaimo and is accessible only by boat or foot passenger ferry, with the peak season schedule through through Sept. 7. The ferry leaves from Muffeo-Sutton Park every half-hour between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and until 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday. (Check back later for shoulder and low-season schedule.)
With no cars on the island, the you’ll enjoy a peaceful escape ideal for a day full of exploring or an overnight camping adventure.
Offering a unique natural, historical and cultural experience, Saysutshun has had a special place in the hearts of the Snuneymuxw people for generations. Here’s a look at what’s waiting for visitors:
- Join your knowledgeable guide for a walking tour, then enjoy a traditional salmon barbecue to learn more about the unique culture of the Snuneymuxw people. (Saysutshun means “training for running’ and refers to the special places where runners, canoe paddlers or warriors would bathe to cleanse themselves before a race or battle.)
- Hike or bike the island’s trails, taking in panoramic views of the Salish Sea and Coastal Mountains.
- Explore the tidal pools, kayak or swim along island beaches and check out some of the many historic sites, including Snuneymuxw village locations, sandstone quarries, fish saltery and coal mine sites.
- Enjoy the beautiful sunrise and calming sounds of the Salish Sea while you camp with your friends, family or large group at the beautiful oceanside campground.
- Wake up to the Salish Sea! Saysutshun’s 18 walk-in campsites are located in a quiet forested area just five minutes from the docks. Potable water is available along with flush and pit toilets, hot showers and food lockers. Sites are available on a first-come first-served basis, but reservations are highly recommended – book through BC Parks’ online reservation system.
Dogs are welcome on the island, but must be leashed at all times. You’re also encouraged to bring a bicycle or camping equipment (there is a nominal ferry charge for these additional items).
For those arriving via their own vessel, berthing facilities are available by mooring buoy in Mark Bay and at the dock.
Learn more and plan your visit at saysutshun.ca