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Ruckle Provincial Park
About This Park
Ruckle Provincial Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the southern Gulf Islands. Pitch your tent in the grassy meadow overlooking Swanson Channel then lie back and relax, watching pleasure boats and ferries sail by in a stately and colourful parade.
With its 7 kilometres of shoreline, rocky headlands and tiny coves and bays, Ruckle Park provides hours or even days of enjoyable exploration. A mixture of forest, field and shore habitats makes it one of the most productive wildlife viewing areas on Salt Spring Island. Watch for sea lions and killer whales out in the sea, and mink and river otter cavorting along the shoreline. Tidal pools are filled with a brightly-coloured world of crab, mussel, limpet, oyster, sculpin, starfish and more.
Scuba divers frequent the waters off Ruckle Park, drifting among the castle-like caves or floating above the bountiful ocean floor, where they will find a profusion of Plumose anemones, sponges, nudibranches, octopuses, seastars and giant barnacles. On shore, birdwatchers can often catch sight of cormorants, grebes, guillemots, eagles, grouse or quail.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ruckle Park is an area rich in cultural history. Irish emigrant Henry Ruckle first homesteaded here in 1872, marrying Ella Anna Christensen in 1877. Their descendants have farmed the Salt Spring property for more than a century. The Ruckle family donated their land to BC Parks in 1972 for the creation of Ruckle Provincial Park. The family still operates the Active Farm area of Ruckle Park and maintains several residences through a Life Tenancy Agreement established with BC Parks at the time of the donation.
Established Date: June 18, 1974
Park Size: 529 hectares
Know Before You Go
- The active farm portion of Ruckle Park is not open to the public. Visitors are asked to respect this property and to not interfere with the farming operation.
Dogs at Ruckle
- Due to ongoing interactions with farm livestock, BC Parks has designated some portions of the park trail system as closed to dogs. This change is in effect until further notice. Park visitors will still be able to enjoy dog on leash areas in the lower day-use and campground areas and the coastal trail to Yeo Point. Signage is in place identifying restricted areas and directing you to dog appropriate locations. Thank you for your cooperation.
- Carpet burweed (Soliva sessilis) is an invasive, introduced plant that has been discovered in Ruckle Provincial Park. Efforts to eradicate the plant are ongoing and include the creation of a fenced quarantine area to exclude seed dispersers (people) from one of the large meadows, and the use of work crews to locate and effectively deal with the plants. To find out more about the origin of burweed, its spread throughout the world, its effects on playing fields and golf courses and its history at Ruckle Provincial Park, view the burweed poster [PDF].
- During the months of April, May and June the wildflowers will be in bloom certain areas of the park, particularly around the group sites. Adults and children who may be prone to allergic reactions are advised to take necessary precautions and to use the mowed paths around the picnic tables and fire rings and the main trails as much as possible. The remainder of the grasses and wildflowers will be cut in early July after the bloom has completed its cycle.
- The water system is shut down for the winter season between November 1 and March 15.
- Ruckle Park Drinking Water Report [PDF]
All campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available
Group Campsite Reservations
Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- Cultural Heritage: First Nations used this area for shellfish gathering, camas harvesting and settlement. The Ruckle Farm is the oldest continually operating farm in British Columbia. The Ruckle family began farming here in the 1870’s, and continues to farm here today.
- Conservation: Ruckle Park is one of the largest provincial parks in the Gulf Islands and protects a mosaic of wetlands, flowering Garry oak meadows, older forest and shoreline habitats. Strong tidal currents create the environment for rich kelp forests offshore. Kelp forests are important feeding areas for fish and attract many birds and mammals. Endangered and threatened species on land include Macoun’s meadowfoam, Nutall’s quillwort, sedges and the western screech owl. Habitat for the rare brittle prickly-pear cactus and northern alligator lizard is protected.
Activities Available at this Park
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
There are six pressurized drinking water stations throughout the campground and day-use areas. Note: The water system is shut down for the winter season between November 1 and March 15.
There are three group campsites at this park, set in an open field. Facilities include pit toilets, a group fire ring, fresh water and picnic tables. Reservation information »
Youth group camping charges per night are $1/person (6+), with a $50 minimum and $150 maximum. Read the Youth Group policy about Criteria for Youth Groups.
Regular group camping charges per night are the base rate for the site, which is $20.00/group site/night, plus $5/adult (16+, minimum charge for 15 adults), plus $1/child (6-15). Children under 6 are free!
A large grassy area and rugged shoreline at the day-use area provide great viewing opportunities of passing boats and ferries. Facilities at the day-use area include pit toilets, picnic tables and an information shelter.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
This park has eight sites for recreation vehicles/campers, four are reservable, and the remainder are first-come, first-served. These are set up as RV sites (no hookups), gravel, spots for RVs, trailers or campers. There are 20 walk-in tent sites (tent pads); 10 are reservable, the remainder are first-come, first-served. In addition, there are approximately 58 non-designated sites in the park that are filled on a first come, first served basis. Facilities include pit toilets, cold water taps and group fire rings. Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $11.00 per party / night