Coming into its second year, Birdability Week is an annual event that offers an opportunity to share resources and ideas to help the birding community be more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming to “everybody and every body.” 

Running from Monday, October 18th – Sunday 24th, 2021, Birdability Week invites everyone to celebrate inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) in the birding community and the outdoors through online workshops, panels and interactive activities. 

While this isn’t a definitive list, we wanted to share some locations on the BC Bird Trail that offer accessible facilities and features, such as public washrooms, parking and reserved parking, wheelchair and stroller access, flatter trails, boardwalks, and more.

If you’d like more information about birding-specific accessibility, check out Birdabilitys website, to learn more about how they are working to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. Discover accessible birding through their crowdsourced Birdability Map that describes in detail the accessibility features of birding locations all over the world. Learn more about how you can help contribute to the Birdability Map!

Killdeer-ShayneKaye-1Steller-ShayneKaye-2 - BC Bird Trail
Keep an eye out for Killdeer along the edges of freshwater ponds and muddy lagoons, but they are also known to be found on lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots.

Central Vancouver Island Bird Trail

Nanaimo

Buttertubs Marsh

  • Wheelchair accessible 2 km gravel loop trail that is relatively flat with some narrow trail parts
  • Paved parking available off of Buttertubs Drive in the north end and one parking lot at the south end off of Jingle Pot Rd.
  • Possible flooding during winter months
  • Interpretive signage
  • Near public transit routes

Morrell Nature Sanctuary

  • Outdoor public washrooms
  • Parking available
  • Yew Loop trail is wheelchair accessible
  • Sheltered outdoor picnic area
  • Interpretive signage
Morrell Nature Sanctuary - Nanaimo - Central Vancouver Island - BC Bird Trail
Birds found in the Morrell Nature Sanctuary.

Parksville Qualicum Beach

North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

  • Gravel paths are wheelchair accessible
  • Two wheelchairs are available for visitor use at no charge
  • A caregiver accompanying someone who requires assistance receives free entry
  • Designated accessible parking spots
  • Washrooms with wheelchair accessibility and one with a baby changing station

Cowichan

Malahat Skywalk

  • The TreeWalk, Spiral Tower, and all Welcome Centre facilities are all wheelchair and stroller friendly
  • The Elevated Walkway and Spiral Tower have a 5-8% incline in some sections
  • Wheelchair accessible parking stalls and washrooms
  • Note: the more rugged terrain on the optional return trail is not designated wheelchair accessible
  • The entire Malahat SkyWalk experience is about 2.2 km
  • On-site cafe with beverages, grab-and-go food and snacks

S’amuna’/Somenos Marsh Conservation Area

  • Several parking lots to access different areas of the marsh
  • The Open Air Classroom and Watt’s Walk Trail offer wheelchair accessible flat gravel paths, boardwalk structures (with handrails), and wildlife viewing platform
  • Interpretive signage
  • Near public transit routes

The Raptors

  • Most paths are packed earth of gravel
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Contact The Raptors in advance of visiting with service animals
  • Near public transit routes

South Fraser Bird Trail

Richmond

Iona Beach Regional Park

  • Mostly flat trails with loose gravel that may make it difficult for narrow tires
  • Parking available
  • Two washroom facilities
  • Wheelchair accessible areas: the washroom building beside the parking area, the table beside South Marsh, the boardwalk and observation platform at the west side of South Marsh, and the cycle path on Iona Jetty
  • Picnic tables are located at the beach area, the west side of the South Marsh, and near the Iona Jetty entrance. 
  • Drinking water available near the beach area

Terra Nova Rural Park

  • Washroom facilities
  • Parking available
  • Picnic areas
  • Drinking fountain
  • Wide gravel paths and some wooden boardwalks along the water
  • Near public transit routes

Garry Point Park

  • Parking available with designated accessible parking spots
  • Accessible washroom facilities
  • Smooth and compact gravel pathways around the perimeter of the park are wheelchair friendly
  • Both the Fisherman’s Memorial and Japanese Garden are wheelchair accessible
  • Picnic areas and benches for resting along the trail
  • Drinking fountain
  • Two seasonal concession stands
  • Near public transit routes
  • Visit Access Richmond’s entry for more specific information
Birding along the boardwalk at Terra Nova Rural Park.

Delta

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

  • Parking available
  • Trails aren’t paved, but are wheelchair accessible
  • Some lookout observation decks are wheelchair accessible

Boundary Bay Regional Park

  • Several access points with parking available
  • Near public transit routes
  • The Centennial Beach area offers wheelchair accessible washrooms, change rooms, concession, and picnic tables
  • The 12 Ave Dyke Trail is a semi-firm 2 km trail with some patches of coarse gravel and minimal slopes
  • The Boundary Bay Dyke Trail is flat and wide with hard-packed gravel

Surrey

Crescent Beach

  • Washroom facilities
  • Main trail is wheelchair accessible
  • A wheelchair designed to navigate the rugged beach terrain is available for loan from the lifeguard station in Sullivan Point Park between the hours of 11am and 7pm throughout the summer. It has chest straps and a seatbelt and can be used with the assistance of an attendant, friend or family member
  • Near public transit routes

Blackie Spit Park

  • A 107-metre boardwalk (currently closed due to COVID-19) provides an accessible route
  • Washroom facilities
  • Parking available
  • Near public transit routes

Mud Bay Park

  • Parking available
  • Flat and wide hard-packed gravel 2.5km looped trail
Boardwalks at Blackie Spit Park in Surrey.

While not an exhaustive list, we hope this can be a useful glance at some of the accessible options for birding along the BC Bird Trail. Due to varying accessibility needs, you may wish to look further or contact the park regions through the resources linked. For more information about accessible activities and experiences in British Columbia, check out Hello BC’s website. You can also discover more accessible locations through the BC Parks website and for Richmond-specific information, there is the Access Richmond database of accessible businesses, activities, and transportation.

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