Exploring Echo Heights
The best game of buried treasure, ever.
It was a leisurely walk through one of the Cowichan Valley's most treasured green spaces, but through the eyes of two imaginative little boys, the forest was teeming with booby traps, golden bows, secret maps, hidden clues and even pirates.
What is it about Echo Heights that inspires such imagination?
The 52 acre community-owned mixed forest contains a diverse ecosystem that includes wetlands, douglas fir forests, rocky out croppings and even rare garry oak meadows, connected by extensive accessible trails within walking distance from town. This lush urban forest is abundant with plant and wild life, including endangered and threatened species.
Echo Heights has been treasured by the Penelakut and Stz'uminus First Nations, educators, botanists, environmentalists, and the residents of Chemainus for over half a century. It is an "outdoor classroom" for students from kindergarten through university, a tourist attraction during the popular Camas festival, and a special place for residents to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise and connect with nature. Echo Heights has been the subject of much controversy in recent years and the community has rallied to protect their park from destruction in the name of development.
But for two little boys on a sunny afternoon, Echo Heights is a place where hobbits live in hollowed tree stumps as tall as mountains, a shipwrecked pirate ship sits at the bottom of a magical lake, and golden branches offer protection from hidden trolls intent on stealing all the treasure.
Explore the diverse animal and plant life that thrive in Echo heights. Look beneath the obvious and discover an amazing ecological micro-system of microbes, fungi, lichen and grubs and beetles. Gaze above at the life that thrives in the canopy. Discover how the First Nations used the forest for medicine and learn to identify endangered threatened, and invasive species.
Spending time out doors is good for us, and is especially important for seniors and children. A self guided tour of Echo Heights is a great way to gets some fresh air and learn about nature. Download our self guided tour guides, pre-visit and post visit worksheets for kids, games and activities. Get outside the classroom, outside the office, and into the great outdoors!
The community has come together to protect Echo Heights park land from development. The Garry Oak landscape includes a mosaic of woodlands, meadows, grasslands, scattered Douglas-fir forest, and open rocky areas. These precious ecosystems have declined dramatically and are one of the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia.
Where the Wild Things are.
Learn Outside the Box.
Think Globally, Act Locally.