Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve/Haida Heritage Site lies in the southern part of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), a remote archipelago off the British Columbia coast, 640 km north of Vancouver. Its 138 islands (1,470 sq. km. of land), feature a rich and fascinating diversity of life, and protect the legacy of Haida culture which has been nurtured by them for hundreds of generations. The planned addition of a marine component to the protected area will encompass an additional 3,400 square kilometers.

The protected area, jointly managed by the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation is known for its distinct island flora and fauna and its outstanding Haida heritage. The rugged San Christoval Mountains, rocky coastline and the remnants of native village sites offer a unique experience combining wilderness, solitude, spirituality and Haida culture.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve/Haida Heritage Site lies in the southern part of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), a remote archipelago off the British Columbia coast, 640 km north of Vancouver. Its 138 islands (1,470 sq. km. of land), feature a rich and fascinating diversity of life, and protect the legacy of Haida culture which has been nurtured by them for hundreds of generations. The planned addition of a marine component to the protected area will encompass an additional 3,400 square kilometers.

The protected area, jointly managed by the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation is known for its distinct island flora and fauna and its outstanding Haida heritage. The rugged San Christoval Mountains, rocky coastline and the remnants of native village sites offer a unique experience combining wilderness, solitude, spirituality and Haida culture.

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Map

Map of Haida Gwaii, BC Coast

Photo: Gwaii Haanas Photo Library

© Gwaii Haanas Photo Library


Coastline

Aerial of Gwaii Haanas, rugged coast line.

Photo: Barbara Wilson, Gwaii Haanas

© Barbara Wilson, Gwaii Haanas


Lagoon

Aerial of Gwaii Haanas, sandy beach, lagoon

Photo: Ernie Gladstone, Gwaii Haanas

© Ernie Gladstone, Gwaii Haanas


The Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation have agreed to share the management of Gwaii Haanas through the Archipelago Management Board (AMB).

The Mandate of the AMB is defined by the commitment in the Gwaii Haanas Agreement and the existing laws and policies of the parties. Under the terms of that Agreement, the AMB will examine all initiatives and undertakings relating to the planning, management and operation of Gwaii Haanas. The Board consists of an equal number of representatives from the two parties. Decisions of the Board are made by consensus.

The Board has adopted a cautious and deliberate management approach to ensure that the proper information is in place, bearing in mind that natural process will be allowed to unfold while management focuses its attention on minimizing the environmental impact of people visiting Gwaii Haanas. To build a basis for decision-making AMB representatives have concentrated their joint efforts on the compilation of natural, cultural and visitor-related information for the coastal areas of Gwaii Haanas.
The Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation have agreed to share the management of Gwaii Haanas through the Archipelago Management Board (AMB).

The Mandate of the AMB is defined by the commitment in the Gwaii Haanas Agreement and the existing laws and policies of the parties. Under the terms of that Agreement, the AMB will examine all initiatives and undertakings relating to the planning, management and operation of Gwaii Haanas. The Board consists of an equal number of representatives from the two parties. Decisions of the Board are made by consensus.

The Board has adopted a cautious and deliberate management approach to ensure that the proper information is in place, bearing in mind that natural process will be allowed to unfold while management focuses its attention on minimizing the environmental impact of people visiting Gwaii Haanas. To build a basis for decision-making AMB representatives have concentrated their joint efforts on the compilation of natural, cultural and visitor-related information for the coastal areas of Gwaii Haanas.

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Archipelago Management Board, Hereditary Chiefs, Watchmen

Photo: Barbara Wilson, Gwaii Haanas

© Barbara Wilson, Gwaii Haanas


Between 1988 and 1992, the Government of Canada joined with the Council of the Haida Nation to manage the area known as "Gwaii Haanas". During that time, the two parties worked out details of an agreement that would protect Gwaii Haanas and respect the interests of both parties. In January 1993, the two parties signed the Gwaii Haanas Agreement. Although the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have differing views on ownership of the area, the Agreement was able to get past these differences and establish opportunities for joint efforts. Both parties agree that:

"Long-term protection measures are essential to safeguard Gwaii Haanas as one of the world's great natural and cultural treasures, and that the highest standards of protection and preservation should be applied."

"Gwaii Haanas will be maintained and made use of so as to leave it unimpaired for the benefit, education and enjoyment of future generations. More specifically, all actions related to the planning, operation and management of Gwaii Haanas will respect the protection and preservation of the environment, the Haida culture, and the maintenance of a benchmark for Read More
Between 1988 and 1992, the Government of Canada joined with the Council of the Haida Nation to manage the area known as "Gwaii Haanas". During that time, the two parties worked out details of an agreement that would protect Gwaii Haanas and respect the interests of both parties. In January 1993, the two parties signed the Gwaii Haanas Agreement. Although the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have differing views on ownership of the area, the Agreement was able to get past these differences and establish opportunities for joint efforts. Both parties agree that:

"Long-term protection measures are essential to safeguard Gwaii Haanas as one of the world's great natural and cultural treasures, and that the highest standards of protection and preservation should be applied."

"Gwaii Haanas will be maintained and made use of so as to leave it unimpaired for the benefit, education and enjoyment of future generations. More specifically, all actions related to the planning, operation and management of Gwaii Haanas will respect the protection and preservation of the environment, the Haida culture, and the maintenance of a benchmark for science and understanding."

--Gwaii Haanas Agreement, 1993

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Signing the Agreement

Signing of the Gwaii Haanas Agreement

Photo: Gwaii Haanas Photo Library

© Gwaii Haanas Photo Library


The Government of Canada designated Gwaii Haanas as a national park reserve for its outstanding natural and cultural heritage. The National Parks Act and Regulations, and Parks Canada's Guiding Principles and Policies govern the operation and management of national parks and national historic sites. The underlying principle that runs through all of these documents is the requirement that national parks will be managed in a manner which ensures that the ecological integrity of these special places is protected, maintained, and where possible, enhanced for present and future generations. In Gwaii Haanas, the specific management prescriptions and directions of the Canada-Haida Agreement also apply.
The Government of Canada designated Gwaii Haanas as a national park reserve for its outstanding natural and cultural heritage. The National Parks Act and Regulations, and Parks Canada's Guiding Principles and Policies govern the operation and management of national parks and national historic sites. The underlying principle that runs through all of these documents is the requirement that national parks will be managed in a manner which ensures that the ecological integrity of these special places is protected, maintained, and where possible, enhanced for present and future generations. In Gwaii Haanas, the specific management prescriptions and directions of the Canada-Haida Agreement also apply.

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Intertidal

Intertidal, Burnaby Narrows

Photo: Gwaii Haanas Photo Library

© Gwaii Haanas Photo Library


beach poles

Skung Gwaii, three people on the beach, poles in backdrop

Photo: Gwaii Haanas Photo Library

© Gwaii Haanas Photo Library


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Locate Haida Gwaii on a map, and describe its geography
  • Describe the ecology of Haida Gwaii and its importance
  • Describe the management strategy of this important cultural and ecological region

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