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The first settlers in what is now Witty's Lagoon Regional Park were the Northern Straits Salish people. When Fort Victoria was established in 1843, members of the Ka-Kyaakan band were the sole inhabitants of the area north of the spit. They reef-netted salmon, gathered camas bulbs, berries and shellfish, and crafted baskets, canoes and clothing. Shell middens reveal traces of their early habitation, including their village site at the edge of the lagoon.
In 1850, James Douglas of the Hudson Bay Company purchased the land from Pedder Bay to Albert Head for 43 worth of blankets. One year later, the Witty's Lagoon section was purchased privately, and farmed by various families until 1867, when John Witty took ownership. During this time, the Ka-Kyaakan band continued to live on the beach, providing canoe transport to Fort Victoria for the community. Today all that remains of the early settlements are shell middens, heritage orchards and part of a cement weir once used for irrigation.
In 1969, CRD Parks purchased 18 hectares of land around the lagoon from the Witty family. Today 56 hectares of protected land form this Nature Appreciation Park and ensure the preservation of its unique ecosystem.
Also by Cindy Griff
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