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New campsite at Bowen Island's Apodaca Park

The BC Parks campsite makes Bowen the newest overnight stop along the Sea to Sky Marine Trail

It’s not the local campsite everybody has been talking about, but there’s a new spot to pitch your tent on Bowen Island – provided you arrive by the proper craft.

BC Parks recently finished construction of four tent pads in Apodaca Park, a 12-hectare provincial park on Bowen’s east coast. The remote campsite is meant to be accessed by marine travel only, and BC Parks says the pads are available on a first-come-first-served basis for recreational paddlers such as kayakers, canoers, or paddleboarders.

Apodaca Park is now the 10th campsite along the Sea to Sky Marine Trail, which runs from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish. Campsites are hosted by BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC, with maintenance and other assistance provided by BC Marine Trails and the Sea Kayak Association of BC (SKABC). The latter group was integral in advocating for adding the Bowen campsite to the trail, first bringing the idea to BC Parks in 2019.

The Sea to Sky Marine Trail network. Apodaca Park on Bowen's east coast is now a campsite stop along the trail. / Recreation Sites and Trails BC

Visitors to the campsite land at a small beach on the far east side of the park, where Optimist Creek meets Howe Sound. To reach the tent pads, paddlers ascend a short path to a looped trail, with the four campsites located to the right overlooking Howe Sound. The left path leads to a compostable pit toilet. BC Parks says they’re planning to add a storage rack at the site for kayaks later this summer.

The organization adds they’re asking travellers to remain on the looped campsite trail while visiting, and not to wander the nearby bluffs to avoid trampling sensitive vegetation. Campfires aren’t allowed in the park.

The view across Howe Sound from Apodaca Park. / Alex Kurial

While the campsites are now in use, their creation came as news to much of the island, including the municipality. “It came as a surprise to staff and many people on Bowen that all of a sudden there are four tent pads and a pit toilet at that park, where before there was none. We were surprised that we had not been informed or engaged by BC Parks or their partners,” said chief administrative officer Liam Edwards during council last week.

Edwards acknowledged that since the park is provincial land none of the groups, including BC Parks, had any obligation to inform the municipality, and that “the park plan for Apodaca has always considered the notion of camping in that park.” But the CAO added common practice is to discuss projects like this with the host community.

“They believed with the park size, being small, and the location, being very remote and boat-access only, that they didn’t need to inform or engage with any of the neighbouring properties or the municipality,” said Edwards, noting BC Parks also explained “the timing of this happening, coinciding with the larger regional park initiative (Cape Roger Curtis), was unfortunate, and they recognize that makes things challenging.”  

There’s no running water or other facilities beyond the tent pads and pit toilet on location. Anyone planning on visiting the Apodaca Park campsite is advised to come prepared, both due to the lack of amenities and potentially challenging marine conditions.

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