Salt Spring Island is the most densely populated of the Gulf Islands and is also home to the biggest Gulf Island provincial campground, Ruckle Provincial Park. The island’s shoreline is varied and beautiful, offering rocky shores, tidal pools to explore, shell beaches for beachcombing, and a wide variety of sandy beaches. Of the 22 ocean beaches, 4 are designated for swimming.
The island has over 200 farms and is known for its sheep-raising; be sure to tour the rolling pastures on the north end (visit in the spring, and you’ll never order rack of lamb again). Salt Spring is also known as a centre for arts and crafts, and has an impressive selection of shops, restaurants and tourist accommodations. While a few of Salt Spring’s attractions can be seen in a whirlwind two-hour drive, a thorough exploration of Salt Spring could take weeks. Allow at least a full day, or more… the serene island offers a tranquil respite for solace-seeking travellers.
Salt Spring Island was engaged in one of BC’s most high-profile environmental wars between local residents and the Texada Land Corporation. In late 1999 the private logging company purchased 10 percent of Salt Spring Island and promptly proceeded to log it. Efforts to raise funds and support included the publication of Preserve & Protect 2001, a tasteful best-selling calendar featuring nude photographs of 35 island woman.
The rugged and mountainous southern end of the island is dominated by Mount Tuam and Mount Bruce, separated from the equally mountainous mid-island region by the Fulford Valley, located between Fulford Harbour and Burgoyne Bay. The north end of the island has a lower elevation, with rolling pastures, deciduous forests and the majority of residential developments, mainly around the village of Ganges.
The local economy is service-oriented and heavily reliant upon the tourist industry, with a high level of services on the island, concentrated mostly in Ganges. Salt Spring offers hotels and motels, a large number of resorts, and many bed & breakfasts and self-contained cottages and suites. There may well be more B&Bs per capita on Salt Spring than anywhere else in Canada.