04/22/2014 01:48 EDT | Updated 06/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Vancouver Island Beach Reopens After Unexploded Munitions Found


PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK, B.C. - Strolling the delicate dunes of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island is once again possible, after the removal of a potentially deadly legacy from the Second World War.

The dunes have reopened, two years after the fragile ecosystem was roped off when unexploded munitions — left over from military practice starting in the 1940s — were discovered in the sandy soil.

The Department of National Defence has carried out an extensive geophysical survey.

The department says in a news release that while no such site can ever be declared completely hazard-free, the risk of uncovering any more unexploded weapons is considered low.

The dunes offer a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, just south of Tofino, B.C., and are also home to one of the rarest ecosystems in Canada.

Unique insects and plants, such as pink-sand verbena, are found in the sheltered, desert-like strip which flourishes between the ocean and the towering trees of the West Coast rainforest.

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