The west coast of Vancouver Island and in particular, Botanical Beach and the adjoining Botany Bay brought Dr. Josephine Tildon to this Vancouver Island area, it was a perfect location for the University of Minnesota’s marine station that she had built in 1900. To me, it still is one of the prettiest places on the coast of Vancouver Island.
The trail between Botany Bay and Botanical beach is an incredible walk through a forest of windswept and twisted trees, it’s a beautiful place, a place of wonder.
For 7 years researchers and students journeyed here to study at the seaside Marine Station. To get here, they would travel from Victoria to Port Renfrew by steamer, then traverse some very steep, muddy, and narrow trails to the station. There was talk about building a better road to the bay, but it never got built, this all but sealed the fate of the station, it was closed in 1907.
When you are hiking in the area, if you look close, you can still see remnants of the buildings sticking out of the west coast rain forest. There is a lot of history here, but you need to look close, as the west coast rain forest is claiming the land back once more. The area became a provincial park in 1989.
The beaches at both botany bay and botanical beach are full of a wide variety of sea life. Both plant and animal life is in abundance, and each has adapted to contend with the variable conditions found here.
Black bears and cougars can also be present at any time. Black bears can become used to feeding on garbage, so to avoid teaching bears about trash, please pack out what you pack in. Cougars normally avoid people and are rarely seen, but please leave pets at home if possible and watch over young children.