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Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is a Great British Columbia Camping Spot!

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is often referred to simply as Gwaii Haanas. The park is located in the southernmost Haida Gwaii islands, 80 miles off the coast of British Columbia. Protected by both the Canadian government and the Haida Nation, Gwaii Haanas is a unique park that is a testament to the beauty and rich ecology of the Pacific coast as well as the culture of the Haida people. For more than 10,000 years, the Haida people have called this island home, and their bond with land and sea is still strong. This is a unique and rare opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature while bearing witness to a living culture. Gwaii Haanas protects an archipelago of almost 140 islands, making it a wonderful British Columbia camping destination!

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The park is accessible by boat or seaplane only, making it a remote park with limited facilities. A daily fee is required, which costs CA$19.60 for adults, $16.60 for seniors, $9.80 for children and $49 for a family (up to seven people). An annual pass costs $117.70 for adults, $98.10 for seniors, $58.80 for children and $294.40 for a family. The weather of Gwaii Haanas is typical of British Columbia’s outer west coast, cool and wet almost any time of the year. The driest months tend to be through spring and summer, but weather can be unpredictable. The rainy season tends to begin as early as August. The east side of the islands is much drier than the west side. Summer winds can be fierce. Fog can be dense and obscure all visibility and summer fog is common on the west coast of the islands. As weather can be unpredictable, it is always important to be alert and the check forecasts before setting out in the water.

There are many ways to explore the park, from kayaking and boating to hiking along the islands. There are no established trails within the park, so all hiking will be through wild terrain. Be sure to bring a compass and observe good hiking techniques. Black bears reside on the islands, so always be conscious of where you are, especially when hiking near bear food sources including berry bushes and salmon streams. When exploring the islands, you’ll discover babbling creeks, majestic mountains, deep lush forests, rugged coastlines, and much more. Almost 90% of Gwaii Haanas is forest, while 9% is alpine tundra. The last 1% is comprised of lakes and wetlands. Sea kayaking is a terrific way to explore the individual islands and the water between them. Kayakers should be experienced and able to handle quickly changing conditions, as kayaking in the park can be a challenge. Haida people continue to live in the park, and visitors have a wonderful opportunity to experience their culture. Archeological sites can be found throughout the park. With such a rich past and current living culture combined with the natural beauty of the archipelago, this is an amazing and very unique British Columbia camping destination!

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