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Spend the day at North Beach and revel in the views from Tow Hill and the Blow Hole - Photo: Talon Gillis

Gray Bay is a popular recreational site known for its beachcombing and camping opportunities - Photo: Flavien Mabit

We've got a selection of camping locations just right for you - forest sites thick with carpets of moss, rustic beach campsites and comfortable campgrounds with showers and hook-ups - Photo: Flavien Mabit

Haida Gwaii's got rainforests, beaches and mountains to explore - let's go! - Photo: Alexander A MacDonald

The Pesuta Shipwreck Trail will lead you along East Beach to the scenic remains of the Pesuta, a log ship that ran aground in 1928 - Photo: Alexander A MacDonald

Visit the award-winning Haida Heritage Centre and Museum at Second Beach in Skidegate - Photo: Guy Kimola

Step into another world as you tour ancient Haida village sites in Gwaii Haanas - Photo: Flavien Mabit

The Rennell Sound area offers exceptional wilderness camping and short trails for accessing remote west coast beaches - Photo: Guy Kimola

 

Rocking the Rainforests and Rivers of Port Clements!

The Village of Port Clements recently hosted a Familiarization Tour (Fam Tour) for local tourism staff, to increase awareness of the cultural, historical and recreational opportunities in the area.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

In short…the tour was mind-blowingly wonderful and included a visit to two unfinished Haida canoes, a walk along the Golden Spruce Trail, a kayak trip on the Yakoun River and a visit to the Port Clements museum.

Our tour began at the Village Office where we were greeted by Mayor Wally Cheer and local tour operator, Alan Lore of Kayak Haida Gwaii.  We travelled along the Juskatla logging road to an unmarked turn-off and drove along a very unmaintained dirt road to a turn around. A short walk along a forest path brought us to a breathtaking scene. A moss-covered, but clearly identifiable, canoe formation lay on the forest floor, directly below us.

Abandoned Haida Canoe - Haida Gwaii Tourism

Alan pointed to the stump of a tree, hand-felled for the canoe, using iron tools and fire. Within feet of this stump was yet, another cedar with a test-hole – this tree didn’t have the qualities needed and as a result, didn’t make the cut…so to speak.

The canoe was thought to have been abandoned about 130-180 years ago, likely as a sign of respect when a family member passed. Alan explained that the Haida would stop working on the canoe, leaving it to begin again in another location.

The next canoe site was well marked with signage. Again, there was a brief forest walk ending at the site of an abandoned canoe. This canoe had greater deterioration than the first one we had visited and the bushes had grown in closely to the canoe.

Abandoned Haida Canoe - Haida Gwaii Tourism

Alan pointed out that these sites were rich in berries and other wild edibles and that this would have been a significant factor in choosing a particular site to work on a canoe. In the quiet of the forest, one couldn’t help but feel the strong presence of the canoe and its people.   

Our next stop was the Golden Spruce Trail (3.5 km west of the Village of Port Clements). The old growth forest trail is easily accessible to the public and most recently the paths have been upgraded to allow for easier walking and wheelchair accessibility. Signage and benches have been added and an outhouse built, making this attraction even more people-friendly. The trail project was a partnership between the Village of Port Clements, Taan Forest and BC Parks.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

The Golden Sitka Spruce was famous for its unique colour mutation. The tree was 165 feet high and had needles with a golden colour.  It was estimated to be approximately 300 years old when it was felled illegally in 1997 by a logging protester.

The short walking trail (about 20 minutes return) winds between a mix of old and second growth forest alongside the Yakoun River. The trail leads to a viewing site with signage indicating where the Golden Spruce had stood and provides the story of its demise.

This trail is an easy walk and a wonderful forest experience – take a break, bring a lunch and relax at the riverside.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

We next travelled a kilometer or so back toward town, to an unmarked turnoff which we were informed was the location of ‘the swimming hole’. My heart skipped a beat – young people still spend time at swimming holes! Sure enough, as we pulled up on the dirt road, there was a group of young people stretched out at the riverside.

Ignoring a rope dangling enticingly from a branch over the river, we unloaded Alan’s kayaks and paired up for the Yakoun River ‘run’. The river was calm, the weather lovely and the reflections were stunning as we started down the river.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

The river meanders through the forest under tree branches laden with velvety clumps of moss. It was easy to imagine the challenges of early settlers, trying to clear a site for their home in this dense forest. Moving through the forest, propelled forward by the current, it was as if we were leaving our world behind and entering into yet another.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

Passing the Sunset Park bird watching tower, we continued to paddle through the estuary, soon arriving at Alan’s waterfront hostel and tour operation.

Haida Gwaii Tourism

A very tasty hot lunch, catered by Renco Gas and cook extraordinaire, Linda Gajdacsi, welcomed us at the Port Clements museum and information centre, compliments of the Village. We happily ate, visited and browsed through the museum’s impressive collection of settler and logging artifacts.

Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos

Massive logging equipment from another time is displayed prominently on the grassed area adjacent to the museum and information centre.

Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos

Our group was beginning to show signs of fatique after a full day of touring the area and there were still lots of sites to visit – the community park where the annual Canada Day celebrations and mud bog races are held, Mayer Lake recreational site, the ghost town of Juskatla, popular fishing holes and well, the list goes on. We'll need to come back and spend more time exploring.

Port Clements is a must – Haida culture, pioneer and logging history and of course, countless outdoor recreational opportunities – all await you. You'll want to add Port Clements to your itinerary!

Haida Gwaii Tourism

 

Contact Us

Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre

website: www.queencharlottevisitorcentre.com
email: info@qcinfo.ca | telephone: 250-559-8316

Sandspit Visitor Centre

website: www.lovehaidagwaii.com/businesses/the-sandspit-visitor-centre
email: visitsandspit@gmail.com | telephone: 250.637.5362

Port Clements Visitor Centre

website: www.portclements.ca
email: pcmuseum@qcislands.ca | telephone: 250-557-4576

Masset Visitor Centre

website: www.massetbc.com
email: info@massetbc.com | telephone: 250-626-3982

Haida Gwaii Tourism

Destination Marketing Organization
website: www.gohaidagwaii.ca
email: tourism@gohaidagwaii.ca

Super Natural British Columbia