Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site — Islands at the Edge
is nowhere else in Canada quite like Haida Gwaii. Actually, make that nowhere else in the world. Situated roughly 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the northwest coast of British Columbia, this island archipelago offers intrepid explorers a unique, unparalleled combination of natural beauty and indigenous cultural heritage.
Haida Gwaii isn’t easy to get to, but that remote character means it has been well protected from excessive human influence. And the only way to really see everything this relatively inaccessible region has to offer is by sea.
Join us as we sail into the heart of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. These rich waters are home to such iconic species as killer whales and humpbacks, puffins and albatrosses. On shore, under towering forests, we’ll visit ancient villages and other archaeological treasures, including the haunting mortuary poles and longhouse remains of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
IN DEPTH: Haida Gwaii Watchmen Program
Tours of Gwaii Haanas’s ancient village sites are one of the major highlights of our visits to this remarkable place, even more so thanks to our interactions with the Haida Watchmen.
The Haida Watchmen program was first initiated in the early 1980s, well before Gwaii Haanas was designated as a Haida Heritage Site or a National Park Reserve, in response to Haida concerns about the potential for vandalism and other damage to the sensitive village sites.
The Haida Watchmen acted as guardians for the culturally significant sites at K‘uuna (Skedans), T’aanuu (Tanu), SGaang Gwaay Llnagaay (Anthony Island/Ninstints), Hlk’yah GawGa (Windy Bay), and Gandle K’in (Hotspring Island).
Today, the program continues, and the Haida Watchmen play an active role in protecting the natural and cultural heritage of these sites, educating visitors and sharing the stories and songs associated with each location.