Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site (also known as Gwaii Haanas) encompasses 15 per cent of Haida Gwaii — a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia, and the ancestral territory of the Haida people. Gwaii Haanas includes over 138 of the approximately 150 islands that make up Haida Gwaii (which were temporarily known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). In the Haida language, Gwaii Haanas means “islands of beauty.”
Skedans – K’uuna Llnagaay
K’uuna Llnagaay (Skedans) is located on the northeast corner of Louise Island. Historically the village had approximately 30 longhouses. There were 50 frontal poles, mortuary poles, memorial poles, and mortuary figures.
There are still remnants of the village longhouses and poles which will give you an idea of the sizes.
Tanu – T’aanuu Llnagaay
T’aanuu Llnagaay (Tanu) is also known as Eelgrass Town, originally referring to the eelgrass beds in the area. Historically there were approximately 40 longhouses in the village. There were 30 mortuary poles, and 15 mortuary houses. There is very little left standing which is covered heavily with moss, and is decaying to the earth.
Windy Bay – Hlk’yah GaawGa
Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay) would be most notably known from the protests for logging at Lyell Island in the mid 1980’s. This protest led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This site has stunning trails along Windy Bay Creek, and you can also see the giant Sitka spruce, which is approximately 900 years old.
Hotsprings Islands – Gandll K’in Gwaay.aay
Gandll K’in Gwaay.aay (Hotspring Island) is famous for the hot springs sprinkled along the shores of the island near the Watchmen’s cabin. The springs temperatures range from 32 to 77 Celsius. This water is fresh water with a mineral content and a distinct salty taste. Due to the 2012 earthquake, the large hot spring pool is not very hot, and the Haida pray for it’s return to its former glory.
Historically Gandll K’in Gwaay.aay provided an abundance of food, and the hot springs provided healing for the body, and the tranquility would nurture the soul. The warmth and heat provides a unique looking vegetation along the shore and the rocky areas of the island. You can see heavy patches of salal and some crab apple in the rocky areas as well.
Anthony Island – SGang Gwaay
SGang Gwaay (Anthony Island) is the southern most southwest coast village in Haida Gwaii. The name SGang.gil.ngang Gwaay (Wailing Island) comes from the sound the tide creates when air is forced through a hole in the rock at SGang Gwaay.
The main island has unusual rock formations which is made of volcanic material, and makes the surfaces interesting. This area is littered with sea lions and seals, and numerous sea birds which can be viewed from a boat.