On September 19, 2021, a few of the Friends, some representatives of BC Parks, and a number of visitors to the park joined in a celebration of John Dean’s 1921 gift of the park to the province. The event included music by the Sidney Brass quintet, a piece of celebration cake, and a commemorative poster for everyone.
The day started like most fall days in Sidney, with rain. Thankfully, the rain eased up as we were setting up and was completely over by the time the event got underway. The rest of the afternoon was blue sky and sunshine.
It was not possible to advertise the event because of COVID-19 restrictions as we did not want to attract a crowd. We decided to carry on anyway for the benefit of people that would be coming to the park that day. They would likely be surprised by the celebration, just as the people had been surprised when John Dean originally donated the land.
And surprised they were! Over the course of the afternoon, over 100 hikers appeared. They were surprised and interested to learn about the reason for the event and enjoyed the music and cake.
One hiker returning to the parking lot recounted how he had become a bit disoriented when arriving at a junction in the trail. He wasn’t quite sure which way to go, but heard the music, decided it must in the parking lot and headed in that direction.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the event a great success.
From the President of the Friends, May 2020
In 2011 the Friends started an interpretive sign project which has resulted in 11 signs and maps being installed in the park that educate visitors on the flowers, trees, birds, fungi and history of the park. One very important sign is the volunteerism sign that celebrates all of those who have volunteered in the park, starting in the 1930s with Freeman King and his scout troop. It includes the many individuals and groups who have volunteered in the park since that time.
When we were producing our interpretive sign last year, its production aligned perfectly with the renaming of the park to honour both its First Nation history as well as its pioneer beginnings, and the new name ȽÁU,WELNEW / John Dean Provincial Park (pronounced Tlay-will-nook) was included on the tree sign.
Community success: Over the past three years, the Friends have been leading a fund-raising campaign to raise money to pave the upper access road and parking lot. The surfaces had been washed away by heavy rains and the traffic of more than 40,000 local and tourist visitors per year. Recently, with the help of our membership, the community and government, we were able to raise the money needed to do the paving. Because the park was closed due to COVID-19 and free of traffic, the Island Asphalt company was able to complete the paving on May 5, 2020. This was one of the major improvements planned prior to the park’s centennial in 2021. A huge thanks to all of the park’s Friends and other supporters who made it possible.
More funds are needed: We still need to raise a bit more to pay for gravel and minor repairs to improve wheelchair and walker access from the parking lot. We do need your ongoing support to see that it all gets done. You can contribute by clicking on the Donate button above. You can use a credit card: there's no need to have a PayPal account. Tax receipts will be provided for all donations.
What was the Project About?
- To repair the parking lot and access to it: remove broken asphalt, level it, install drains, and pave it. See the "Before and After" photos below.
- Also, to develop and install new signs to be displayed in the parking lot with a focus on park history, early pioneers, and nature.
What are the Benefits?
- Improved accessibility to enhance the park experience for families with strollers and visitors with limited mobility.
- Safer, access to parking for visitors so they can enjoy the hiking trails, beautiful vistas, rare plants, wild flowers, and old growth forest.
- Improved education material available for the benefit of visitors of all ages.
- Provide the health benefits resulting from time spent exploring nature.
- Bring people together as a community committed to improving the park.
Your support is greatly appreciated
The Friends of John Dean Park
Before and After Photos
(1) Access road before being paved:
(2) Access road before being paved:
(3) Parking lot before being paved:
(4) Parking lot before being paved:
(5) Access road after being paved:
(6) Parking lot after being paved:
(7) Parking lot after being paved, another view:
(8) Parking lot after being paved with gravel added around the edges:
Once again, thank you.
The Friends of John Dean Park