Neck Point Park - Alicia Elgert
I was born and raised in British Columbia. Having been brought up on the coast, my connection to water is a strong one. I grew up splashing about in any natural waterbody I could find. One of my favourite places is the Pacific Ocean surrounding my watermark, Neck Point Park, located on the traditional and ancestral territory of the Snuneymuxw Nation.
As children, my brother and I would spend a few weeks of summer vacation with our paternal grandparents in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Nearly every day, we would venture down the road and enter the shade covered trails of Neck Point Park. After a short while, dark patches of Garry oak forest would give way to bright rays of light, revealing the shoreline ahead.
Immediately, my brother and I would race towards the water, our grandmother shouting to “walk slowly!” (as to not slip on the barnacle encrusted rocks). For hours, we would scour glittering tide pools for signs of life - crabs, mussels, and snails. Our true prize, however, would be found in the deep crevices between rock faces...but to find those, we had to climb. Our grandfather led the way with a trusted walking stick in hand (one that he carefully selected in the trails). We would scale rugged cliffs and navigate carpets of kelp, hoping to spot a glance of vibrant orange or purple. It wouldn’t take long to spot the starfish. Our grandfather would gently pry one from its slippery surface and pass it to us. My fingers sliding over its rough back, I would turn it over, marvel at its tube feet, and giggle at the suction cup sensation upon my hand. After admiring its undeniable beauty, I would return our newly found friend back to its resting place. Our marine invertebrate adventures would end with a picnic, windswept hair, and saltwater skin.
I treasure those days spent by the sea - they strengthened my connection to nature, encouraged my passion for biodiversity, and provided lasting memories of my grandparents. To this day, every time I visit Nanaimo, a trip to Neck Point Park is always on the itinerary.