Race Rocks

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

Pearson College UWC has volunteered since 1997 to manage the ecological reserve and facilities on Race Rocks Islands in the eastern entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Salish Sea, about 7 km from Pearson by boat. An Ecoguardian hired by the college lives on the island permanently and students are able to spend time there through the marine sciences course, the diving activity, volunteering during project week and helping out in other ways. 

Photo by Garry Fletcher

The ecological reserve is Crown Land of the BC Government, and BC Parks administers it as a Provincial Ecological Reserve. The reserve area covers 3 square kilometres of ocean, rocks, and reefs, but does not include the small envelope of land with the foghorn and the historic Race Rocks Lighthouse itself which is leased by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Because of the location in a high current area, there is an exceptional variety of marine life to be found, including marine mammals, sea birds, fish, marine invertebrates, and marine algae and sea grass. It is a haulout area for California and Northern sealions and a birthing rookery for Harbour seals. It is also the most northerly birthing colony on the Pacific Coast of North America for Elephant Seals.

There are also live video feeds from Race Rock, with remotely operated cameras and a fixed underwater camera, and a videocam archive available from the website.

In 2013 the documentary activity produced a documentary film showing the relationship betwen Pearson College UWC and the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.