Why is the Cape special?

The dramatic seashore at Cape Roger Curtis has particularly high value as a public beach because the intertidal zone is exposed rock and has a very shallow slope. People can walk or scramble for a long way, and intimately explore an array of tidepools. The views to sea are particularly scenic, including the nearby Pasley Islands and distant Vancouver Island. Because it juts out into the sea where two ocean channels meet, it has bracing winds and large swells.

A low rocky shoreline tipped with a small lighthouse at the point of Cape Roger Curtis

See videos of each location


This is the largest accessible rocky intertidal zone on Bowen, full of tide pools and rightly popular with residents and visitors to the island. It is our very own wild coast gem. A key destination on the island, it is a vital component of the local tourism economy.  As crown land, the cape seashore is currently a public amenity and it is important that we preserve high quality public recreation sites such as this stretch of seashore.

Along most of the western coast of Cape Roger Curtis, the beach has a shallow incline, requiring long docks to connect the shore with deep water anchorages. Also, unlike much of Bowen’s shoreline the coast is particularly exposed to strong westerly and southwesterly storms, requiring large scale infrastructure.

In our view, a series of giant structures will greatly diminish the wilderness experience for visitors. Like tall pallisades, docks of this scale have the effect of boxing areas in, blocking the natural view. There is no compelling reason why this landscape should be inundated with colossal human structures for the use of a small handful of people to the detriment of the island people, visitors and the local economy.

We feel that in the long run, the new friends who move into the homes on Cape Roger Curtis will actually feel proud that they abandoned their dock project as a kindness to their fellow islanders.

From owners’ website TheCapeOnBowen.ca

An image of the web page from TheCapeOnBowen with their green statement.“Its beaches, trails, shorelines, and dense woods have been virtually untouched for more than 50 years.”

“This is an impossibly beautiful coastal site. Its untouched shores, whispering brooks, and deep woods are a Pacific Northwestern gem.”

Bird Life

Here is a description from a Parks Canada assessment report Feb 2010 prepared by Bill Henwood of Parks Canada:

“The Cape Roger Curtis area is known for its abundant beds of eelgrass and blue mussels and, that, in turn, attracts numerous seabirds, particularly surf scoters and Barrows goldeneye. Coastal seabird surveys have observed up to 3,000 surfs scoters at one time. In all, 35 species of marine or shoreline birds were recorded during these surveys. Northwestern crows and bald eagles, both of which forage frequently in intertidal habitats, were also recorded regularly. These marine waters are also frequented by two red-listed fish-eating birds, the double crested cormorant and marbled murrelet, as well as great blue herons and the occasional blue-listed rhinoceros auklet (Bowen Island Conservancy 2007).”

Geology of Cape Roger Curtis

The extensive rocky intertidal zone and coastal bluffs at Cape Roger Curtis provide the best and most extensive exposures of the Jurassic age Bowen Island Group anywhere on Bowen Island or elsewhere on the BC coast. This geological formation is primarily composed of metamorphosed volcanic and lessor sedimentary rocks. The Bowen Island Group rocks exposed between the CRC light station and the beach to the north are of particular note as they display steeply tilted thin-layered chert and argillite. These rocks formed on an ancient seafloor as mud and plankton ooze approximately 180 million years ago.