Coastal Islands, Pacific Northwest
Haida Gwaii is actually an archipelago made up of over 450 islands. Haida Gwaii is 80 km off the west coast of BC but is less the 50 km from the southern tip of Alaska. There are 3 ways to get to the islands, you can fly into Sandspit, take a ferry to Skidegate or travel in your vessel. If you fly into Sandspit, you will be on Moresby Island and will need to catch the Alliford Bay to Skidegate ferry to reach Graham Island. 4 out of 5 Haida Gwaii residents live on Graham Island. There is a paved hwy that runs north from Skidegate through Tlell and Port Clements to finally reach Masset 101 km later. The biggest community on Haida Gwaii is Queen Charlotte, just south of Skidegate, it has a population of around 1000. There are about 5000 people altogether, living on the islands.
The name, Haida Gwaii, means ‘Islands of the People, the Haida People are protectors of this great land, they saved huge tracks of Moresby Island from the loggers saw and now there is this place where we can all see how the natural environment looks like, this is l am sad to say is not the case in the mainland section of the BC coast. The mainland is being bombarded with fish farms, oil pipeline proposals, gas ports, and fracking and is losing the battle to the giant corporations. But on Haida Gwaii, there are no fish farms, oil pipelines or fracking and the Haida will fight to keep it so.
The land is full of wildlife, bears, Eagles, Sea Lions, Seals and offshore you can see whales, even right whales are finding their way here, there are many killer whales in the waters surrounding these islands, its a paradise.
I worked up on the islands as a logger back in the 70s, loved it here, and then was able to return in the 90s again, working in forestry. Got to see the golden spruce before it was cut down. Worked in the Juskatla area. Now my son is working up there as a timber cruiser, it’s pretty cool hearing about the area many years later, through the eyes of my son.
If you ever get a chance to visit Haida Gwaii, don’t hesitate, jump right on board and you can be assured that a great adventure is waiting for you. Take time to see as much as you can, there are such wonders here.