Poetry in the Admiral’s Forest (near Sooke)

Otter Point forest near Sooke, BC

Can we save this land and make it a community forest? Enjoy beautiful views into the Straight of Juan de Fuca from the Admiral’s Forest at Otter Point, west of Sooke. Photos by James Gaston.

Want to do some forest bathing? A Forest for All Seasons will refresh your soul with a unique literary experience in the woods near Sooke.

Canadian poet Wendy Morton lives nearby in the Victoria region. She dreams of buying the Admiral’s Forest at Otter Point… to protect it from development, open it to the public and preserve the habitat.

She’s organizing an event to help make this dream come true. On the afternoon of March 30, come wander a path at the edge of the Admiral’s Forest where illustrated poems hang from trees.

Stop to read the poems. Let the poets’ words sink in. Let yourself harmonize with the heartbeat of the woods.

A Forest for All Seasons (Poetry in the Woods)

Date: March 30, 2014
Time: 11 AM – 3 PM
Location: In the woods, west of Sooke… at 8514 West Coast Road
Admission: Free—just come and enjoy a unique experience

Park at Seaward, 8485 West Coast Road and walk into the Poetry Grove across the road. Then, follow a path at the edge of the Admiral’s Forest where poems are hung from the trees.

Poets from around the world have sent their work to Wendy to celebrate the 70 acre property tended by Rear Admiral John Charles from his retirement to Victoria in 1974 to his passing in 2010.

The collection of illustrated poems is truly unique and heartfelt. They capture how important natural experiences are for you and I. The Japanese have a term for a walk in the woods that restores and refreshes: Shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing”). It is living poetry.

Path through the Admiral's Forest at Otter Point, west of Sooke

The forest at Otter Point has grown around a network of trails that fit the natural landscape. As a private managed forest, timber harvest has been sustainable. There are old growth specimens as well as maturing second growth trees.

Riders on horseback help keep the trails open and groomed, and in the future certain trails will be wheelchair accessible.  It’s a place for children, youth and adults to explore and grow.


The Juan de Fuca Community Land Trust would like to protect the habitat and preserve the recreational use of this land for future generations. Imagine a community forest. It would be mostly wild, like East Sooke Regional Park. But unlike most parks, it would be owned and cared for by the people who care about it most: locals.

On the last weekend in March, when spring welcomes you outdoors, plan to spend Sunday out on the West Coast Road beyond Sooke. There are cafes and picnic spots aplenty: Gordon’s Beach, the beach at Muir Creek, French Beach, Sandcut Beach, the beach at Jordan River, China Beach.

Entre the woods, savour the poems and soak in the scented air and soothing green.

The Forest for All Seasons poetry event runs from 11 am to 3 pm. Park at Betty Tully’s Seaward property at 8485 West Coast Road. Then, walk a few steps to the entrance of the Admiral’s Forest at 8510 West Coast Road.

Forest for All Season's Event at Otter Point (near Sooke)

The Juan de Fuca Community Land Trust Society is a new member of the Land Trust Alliance of BC: ltabc.ca .  We are on a mission to acquire properties on southwestern Vancouver Island, preserve the natural habitat and keep them open to the public.

We plan to let the forest at Otter Point grow older with supervision to keep it healthy, free from hazards and invasive species. We want to keep it as a kind of living classroom and gentle wilderness with animal residents and human visitors.

Poetry in the Admiral’s Forest (near Sooke) by


  1. shirley hartery says:

    Listen to Wendy. She enters the soul of everything she holds dear, and expresses it in wonderful, elegant, insightful poetry. She captures the essence of nature and imparts it to the rest of us. She is such a valuable asset to help preserve the Admiral’s Forest. Listen to her.

  2. D. Mahoney says:

    Here in the southern most part of Canada, in Ontario, we lament our shrinking woodlots, which are nothing compared to the old rainforests of British Columbia. Bravo Wendy! May the poems strengthen the message.

    • Thanks from bringing up the issue of land restoration in the rest of Canada. On Vancouver Island (and elsewhere in BC) we’re lucky to have to still have old rainforests. But every bit of preservation counts.

      We’re lucky here because even though Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, we have a small population with little heavy industry, and Greater Victoria has a culture that naturally supports these kind of projects. There is a history of land preservation going way back (Beacon Hill Park, for example).

      But elsewhere in Canada (and globally), where more damage has already been done, there is still hope! Land is expensive near Victoria, but in regions where land is more affordable it may be easier for citizens to take land restoration into their own hands. E.g., Look at all the urban farms popping up in Detroit!

      Another example is the Valhalla Movement near Montreal. A group of young adults got together, bought a piece of land and started an intentional community on it. There are many more examples like this. I think the first step to preserving and restoring the land is to reconnect with it, and one way to do that is to live on it in a sustainable way.

      There was an architect who suggested that before anyone design a building, they should live in a tent on the plot of land for a full year to intimately understand the natural processes. Only then would they be ready to build a structure that’s in sustainable harmony with the land.

  3. Spread the word on Facebook and elsewhere. Rain or shine, this will a beautiful walk through some of the loveliest forest around Victoria. I hope this land is not fated to be sold for logging rights. If enough people get together, maybe it won’t be. Poems and trees. Let’s keep the legacy of Rear Admiral John Charles and his careful stewardship of this property.

  4. Anything Wendy sets her mind to, turns into an artful, poetic experience. I urge all to join in this forest walk
    Terry Ann Carter
    educator, poet, artist, bookmaker
    president, haiku canada

  5. Brooke Finlayson says:

    I urge anyone and everyone to attend this awesome and inspiring movement. Myself and many, many others fought to protect the coast from Sandcut Creek to Jordan River, and although the fight was long, and complicated, and at times felt like big money would rule the day, we found success-and only because people deeply care about and for these places. Simply put-they are magical. And should never be destroyed to achieve a bottom line. There is so much more to life than wealth and as a woman born and raised on Vancouver Island, these forests are our children’s right, their classroom, their legacy, and their happy place. Please support this as it is meaningful and important work. Way to organize!! Mahalo.

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