Porteau Cove

Porteau Cove is located on the Howe Sound, the most southerly fjord in North America, 38 km north of Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, 20 km south of Squamish, 8.5 km south of Britannia Beach. Other nearby communities include Brackendale and Lions Bay.

The park is 50 hectares in size, and offers picnicingcampingswimmingwindsurfing, and a boat launch. Porteau Cove is a very popular area for scuba diving, with a series of artificial reefs including two sunken vessels. It has 44 drive-in campsites and 16 walk-in sites. 80% of the campsite may be reserved through Discover Camping, April through September. The park is maintained and operated by Sea To Sky Parks, based in Mount Seymour in North Vancouver, BC.

On July 29, 2008, a large rockslide took place at the Porteau Bluffs, just north of Porteau Cove. No one was injured, however access to Whistler was hampered. The highway and the rail line run tightly together at the base of the bluffs, which is composed of slab-like chunks of granite, which formerly overhung the highway until scaling reduced some of the mass of the bluff. The slide has renewed concerns about the geotechnical safety of the route, and was a security issue during the 2010 Olympics events in Whistler. Communities north of the slide, including Whistler, are often isolated by such slides, but a “back door” paved route exists via Lillooet and the Fraser Canyon.

A ferry terminal exists at the park for emergency use. If ever a landslide or avalanche occurs between Porteau Cove and Vancouver or Porteau Cove and Squamish, the BC Government could send in a ferry to detour cars around the slide to Darrell Bay Terminal in Squamish or to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Since slides occur so rarely on the Sea-to-sky Highway, the dock is open to the public as a promenade wharf. The pier is owned by BC Parks, but the ferry ramp and accessories is owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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