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Port Renfrew-Lake Cowichan Circle Route


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#41 mat

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 08:57 PM

I guess this is done now. I will try to make an effort to take a look on Monday.


Thanks Seberry - changed the thread title from 'will be blacktopped' to 'IS'

#42 Bernard

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:13 AM

It is mostly private land, so it is conceivable that some land on the route could eventually be developed.
But I think there are much more attractive large parcels owned by logging companies on the east (dry!) side of the island that will be developed far, far sooner.


The land is all private land. The lands are unlikely to developed anytime soon because it is beyond phone and electrical services.

A few people might be willing to buy a large wilderness plot and put a cabin on it, but that is all that would happen if the lands were no longer going to be used for forestry.

1000 hectares of this forest land has a value to the forest company of about $400 000 per year in timber. Using a 40 year time horizon, that 1000 hectares would have to sell for around $16 000 000 to make sense for the company to sell. This is 2500 acres, that would be in 15 to 20 titles, meaning the company would need to be able to get $1 000 000 for each title for it to make sense to sell.

#43 G-Man

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 02:01 PM

Just drove it today. It was great.

#44 mat

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 06:47 PM

Just drove it today. It was great.


G-man - still planning on taking the family for that drive soon. Any particular spots to look out for? Are there view stops we should be considering?

#45 pseudotsuga

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 07:30 PM

Interesting numbers Bernard - thx. I wonder how much we will see the price of more accessible forest lands cross those thresholds over the years. There has been lots of coverage of the Couverdon lands.

#46 sebberry

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 09:18 PM

G-man - still planning on taking the family for that drive soon. Any particular spots to look out for? Are there view stops we should be considering?


View stops? Pretty much anywhere along the road. You'll hardly encounter anyone up there (I saw one car each of the three times I was up there) so you can stop anywhere that looks good if you want to get out and take in the scenery.

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#47 G-Man

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:47 AM

Well Mat I would encourage you to stop in at Fairy and Lizard Lakes, also the short detour to the San Juan River Campsite is worth it as you can see Canada's biggest Spruce Tree and it is HUGE. Along the way the road crosses some nice creeks which are good picnic spots and with some recent clearcuts you get some great views from your car!

I first drove that road about 10 years ago and then it was just a large logging road, that time I saw one other vehicle during the trek this time I must have passed 30 or 40 vehicles going the other way.

What paving this road has done is not only open up a convenient loop for tourists but has created a huge shortcut for those towing boats and campers to the Renfrew area. From the people we met it seemed like there were a lot of first timers from the central island who wanted to check out Renfrew but always skipped it due to the length of time to go into Victoria and then out West. This shaves about 150 km or more off that trip one way.

#48 Phil McAvity

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:41 PM

8 hours if you are a mean family.


LOL! Good one!

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#49 sebberry

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:56 PM

I first drove that road about 10 years ago and then it was just a large logging road, that time I saw one other vehicle during the trek this time I must have passed 30 or 40 vehicles going the other way.


That's good for the carbon footprint :o

I liked the remoteness of that road, now it sounds like my predictions of that disappearing have come true.

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#50 sebberry

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 07:21 PM

I was planning to do the drive tomorrow but it looks like rain is in the forecast again... :(

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#51 Linear Thinker

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:29 AM

I was in Honeymoon Bay this past weekend and saw more than a few motorcycle groups exiting the route. I guess this is a group that would be hesitant to even attempt the route before being paved. (Large cruiser bikes, I mean.)

#52 sebberry

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 02:29 PM

Looks like it didn't rain after all today..

Last time I make/cancel plans based on the weather network.

Oh well, there's always next Monday :)

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#53 G-Man

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 02:37 PM

^^ Yup there were plenty of motorcycles riding the road the day I went through.

#54 sebberry

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 11:27 PM

Went up there today. Surface is decent but could be a bit smoother considering it is brand new.

While I do love roads for spirited twisty driving, the circle route was full of clueless tourists. You can also see where some of the sharper curves have attracted the local hooligans and now have surfaces covered in rubber and look like something out of a drag strip.

I see they are straightening some of the sections too, presumably to make it more accessible for motorhomes and mobile appliance operators (read: minivan and floaty sedan drivers)

I love the sign at the construction zones: "Turn off your engine while waiting, keep the air clean" or something like that. Um.. hello? This whole project is going to allow how much more soot to be blown in the air? :P


Meh, I could take it either way. The gravel was a bit slow but allowed for a more isolated feel. Nothing more frustrating than an Albertan doing 50 on the windy roads and won't pull over.

Oh well. Good for the minivans tho.:rolleyes::rolleyes:

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#55 Coopershawk

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:08 PM

I drove it on Friday and enjoyed the trip. There were quite a few boats being hauled south toward Port Renfrew and a few land yachts. I thought that the signs announcing the Lake Cowichan turn off could be improved...it's a bit confusing.

#56 sebberry

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:29 PM

I thought that the signs announcing the Lake Cowichan turn off could be improved...it's a bit confusing.


I thought *I* was the master of getting lost :P

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#57 Mike K.

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:25 PM

I've been meaning to take the alternative route along Gordon Main. It parallels the circle route to the west as it works its way up steep mountain. It's intended mostly for utility vehicles and logging operations, though, so best to stay away with Camry's or smaller crossovers without adequate clearance. Gordon Main dumps you along south Cowichan Lake Rd probably not too far from Mesachie Lake (where the circle route ends).

And for those of you with some adventurous spirit, take the road that parallels the Circle Route to the east. It snakes along a very deep canyon and ends just before Mesachie Lake, but unfortunately there is a gate there intended to keep vehicles heading towards Port Renfrew from using it (which means you have to drive all the way back and get on the circle route to get to Cowichan). I've never taken this route, but a Renfrew local told me it's worth the extra time to check it out.

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#58 G-Man

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:35 PM

On my map I saw that there is a town along the Gordon Main called Gordon River. Is it actually a town?

Also according to my map Gordon Main is also gated how far south along the new road from Mesachie Lake is the West turnoff to Gordon Main to avoid this gate.

#59 Mike K.

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:53 PM

Gordon River is a logging camp but I don't think there are any structures onsite, just machinery, if any. I don't quite understand why these places are listed on maps as they can confuse travelers who think there are services available.

I'm not sure about the gate, though. Sorry.

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#60 Coopershawk

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 05:29 PM

I actually drove past the turn off to Lake Cowichan and continued into Port Renfrew. When I realized my mistake, I turned around and went back a short way towards Sooke...there are absolutely no signs indicating a Lake Cowichan turn off when you are travelling east from Port Renfrew; however, I finally found my way. Another example of a million dollar highway and two bit signage. So you see sebbery, you are not the only one to lose your way! Blame the cartographers!

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