Haida Gwaii literally “Islands of the [Haida] People”, informally but commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Charlottes, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada, populated mostly by Haida people. Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham Island in the north and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands. The islands are separated from the British Columbia mainland to the east by Hecate Strait. Vancouver Island lies to the south, across Queen Charlotte Sound, while the U.S. state of Alaska is to the north, across the disputed Dixon Entrance.
Some of the islands are protected under federal legislation as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, which is mostly Moresby Island (Gwaii Haanas in Haida) and adjoining islands and islets. Also protected, but under provincial legislation, are several provincial parks, the largest of which is Naikoon Provincial Park on northeastern Graham Island. The islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including the largest subspecies of black bear, and also the smallest subspecies (Ursus americanus carlottae) and the subspecies of stoat Mustela erminea haidarum. Black-tailed deer and raccoon are introduced species that have become abundant.
On June 3, 2010, the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act officially renamed the islands Haida Gwaii as part of a reconciliation protocol between British Columbia and the Haida people.
Haida Totem Poles
Traditional Haida art is recognized around the world for its rich detail and unique style. Although modern Haida art takes many forms from jewellery to masks to paintings, monumental wood carvings will always stand out as one of the most recognizable of Haida art forms. The towering poles that could be seen in Haida villages hundreds of years ago are still being carved today.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is one of the world’s top-rated national parks. The new Gwaii Haanas Marine Protected Area and Haida Heritage Site created in 2010, makes this the first area in the world to be protected from mountain top to sea floor. Gwaii Haanas has an extensive media kit which you are encouraged to access for detailed information.
Naikoon Provincial Park
Naikoon Provincial Park encompasses a large area on the north east side of Graham Island. This beautiful park showcases the long sand beaches of North Beach and East Beach and is a great area to hike, camp and beachcomb.
Haida weaving, once an important part of everyday life, is an art still being passed on through the generations. Some of the finest historic weavings are from the Haida and displayed prominently in museums. Today, Haidas have revived the weavings for ceremonial use as well as sale.
Haida Gwaii is home to many talented artists who use a variety of mediums to produce both Haida traditional art and many other types of art. The Art Route program connects artists with visitors by maintaining a list of artists who open their studios to the public
East Beach Trail
The rugged landscape of Haida Gwaii means that hiking trails are mostly short and steep. However, there are some options for multi-day hiking and the hike up along the east coast of Graham Island is a great route for those seeking a longer adventure.
Haida Gwaii is an exceptional destination for sea kayaking. Experienced kayakers often plan multi-day expeditions into Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site but even a beginner can find day trips in protected waters.
The waters around Haida Gwaii are well known for great fishing. Salmon, halibut and other species make for exciting fishing and excellent eating.
Most of the roads on Haida Gwaii are flat and traffic-free, which makes for great cycling. There are also endless opportunities for mountain biking on the islands’ many gravel logging roads.
All Information and pictures are courtesy of – http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/
Helpful Related Links:
Haida Gwaii Map – www.gohaidagwaii.ca/getting-here-around/maps
Accommodations – http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/directory/category/accommodations
Restaurants – http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/directory/category/restaurants
Vehicle Rentals – http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/getting-here-around/auto-rentals
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