Rithet's Bog Conservation Area is a neighbourhood and municipal park located in the district of Saanich, a municipality in Greater Victoria, British Columbia. The bog is encircled by a 3.2-kilometer loop trail that takes visitors through a number of different biodiversity regions.
Popular activities include walking, jogging, and birdwatching. As this is a sensitive conservation area cycling and horses are prohibited on the trail and dogs must be kept on a leash and on the trail at all times. Signs caution visitiors to also stay on the trail as there are areas of concealed deep water along the trail and in the bog. An hour is suggested to complete the trail loop and read the interpretive signs, the loop can be completed though, if out for a quick walk in about 35 minutes. There are several park benches located around the trail for taking a break and taking in the view.
The park contains a high level of biodiversity and includes wetlands, shallow open water, cattail and bulrush marshes, douglas fir, arbutus, and bog forests, a stream, shrub swamps, wet meadows, fens and meadows. Rithet's bog is the last remaining bog ecosystem in the Greater Victoria area. Over 100 species of bird have been observed at Rithet's Bog including some rare and endangered species. There is also a wide variety of native plants, a critically imperiled plant community of Sphagnum moss, and insects and mammels such as squirrels, deer and bats. Even the alarming sighting of a cougar or two over the years!
Tsawout First Nations historically traveled to the bog, to harvest cranberries, hunt ducks, and they may have also collected cattails. Every part of the cattail from root to leaves is useful. It is edible and was used for food, medicine, for weaving into mats and blankets and even the downy flower fluff from the cobb was collected and used for stuffing for mattresses, and padding for clothing.
In the 19th century the area surrounding the bog was farmed and Robert Patterson Rithet, owned this property in the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Robert was a businessman and was mayor of Victoria for a few years. He had a passion for racehorses, the most famous called Broadmead, and hence the name of the affluent neighbourhood next to the bog. Stories have been told on how flat pieces of wood would be tied to the bottom of the draft horses hooves in order that they could plow the bog for crops without sinking into the mud. This area remained as farmland until 1994 when it was converted back to a bog and established in 2002 as a conservation area.
The Rithet's Bog Conservation Society has a mission to recognize the heritage value of Rithet's Bog and to carry out activities which will preserve its unique weland ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations. It invites the public to join in membership and voluteer on a number of its restoration projects.