The other day while looking through the Flickr stream of Ben Johnson (aka sockeyed) I came across his wonderful photo set taken on Barnston Island. If you’re like me and have never heard of this place before, the island is just over 1,500 acres of land located in the Fraser River between Surrey and Pitt Meadows. It is a distinctly rural farming community of about 150 residents, and includes one of the three reserves of the Katzie First Nation.
Located on the western tip of the island is a small park maintained by the GVRD. In addition to the rural setting and scenes of the Fraser River, the island offers stunning views of Mount Baker and the Golden Ears. Families come from all over the region to walk or bike and enjoy the rural atmosphere, scenery, bird-watching and quiet roads.
The island is served by a free, 5 to 6-car ferry (part of the BC Highways system) that runs from the east end of 104th Avenue in Surrey. It operates on demand from 6:15 in the morning to 11:50 in the evening with an extra hour to 12:10 am on the weekend. The ferry is ten minutes from Guildford and about 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The island is protected by 10 kilometres of dyke. The dyke circles the island and also serves as the main road.
Life on the island has been under threat for years because of land speculators. In 2003 an application was submit to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to remove much of the island from the Agricultural Land Reserve, and currently there are plans to turn 1,100 acres into an industrial park. For more information please see the Barnston Island website.