Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Botanical Beach and the Minnesota Seaside Station

In 1900 the University of Minnesota opened the Minnesota Seaside Station on the west coast of Vancouver Island near the town of Port Renfrew.  Check the link for some history.
In addition you can read Postelsia, the annual journal of the Minnesota Seaside Station on line at:
Botanical Beach just south of Port Renferw is renowned for the variety of seaweed, and its amazing geology.
Gretchen, my very cool phychologist wife, and I spent three days exploring the beach last weekend with two good friends.  It was an outstanding trip.
The outer coast is very different from my usual haunts of Puget Sound and always is demanding a visit....usually I end up on the fabulous Washington Coast but it was finally time to do the border crossing and ferry rides to Vancouver Island just to revisit the beach of my school days....1975 that would be.  The beach is unchanged but the roads into Port Renfrew, 60 miles of gravel in 1975, are now paved in two directions....yippee.
While 1975 was a little depressing in that most of that side of the island had been recently clear-cut...today there are at least 30 year old trees in place of the ugly slashes....90% of Vancouver Island's old growth has been cut.
I have attached some images of the beach....now a protected park....yippee again.  Two trails begin at Port Renfrew....the Juan de Fuca and the West Coast trails.  The West Coast Trail is considered one of the premiere wilderness trails in the world and in places very challenging...to the point of dangerous.
So if you like hitting the low tide at a mind blowing beach, and even want to add a 50 mile challenging hike you need look no further.

Sea Palm brown seaweed

Gretchen and friends

Tide Pool

Botanical Beach

Red and Yellow sponges

Tide Pool

Green Anemone

Tide Pools

Sea Sacs

Botanical Beach

Lined Chiton

Mixed Seaweed

Woody Chiton and anemones

Shield Limpets on Sea Palm

Mussel Bed Botanical Beach

Gumboot Chiton

Red Sea Slug and Six-rayed Stars

Black Bear

Graceful Coral Seaweed

Black Katy Chiton

Weird Beach Bum

Black Turbans with Hooked Slipper Snail

Tide Pool

Spotted Dorid eating sponge

Tide Pool

Botanical Beach

First Nations War Canoe

Big Cedar and tree huggers

Botanical Beach

Coraline Algae

Eaten Purple Sea Urchin with Aristotle's lantern Gretchen F. image

Fragile Star

Gretchen F. image

Soule Creek B&B

Wrinkled Amphissa

Large black slug

Limpets on Sea Palm

Blood Star
Dire Whelk
Chalky Coral Seaweed

Mixed Seaweed


  1. That looks like 18 different types of fun. Great picks of some great finds. Way to go Gretchen and Buzz.

  2. On your post of Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - Botanical Beach and the Minnesota Seaside Station, there is a photo of Botanical Beach, 26th photo from the top (above the canoe one), that we would like to use in a book that has a chapter about Tilden. Can you contact me via email to communicate about this and whether the photo is of high enough resolution for publication. Thank you.