Haida Gwaii, formally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Charlottes, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, located north of Vancouver Island and south of Alaska.
Approximately 5000 residents inhabit the roughly 150 islands, making up a total landmass of 10,180km2 (3,931 sq mi). The land is home to grand forests and the islands are home to an abundant of wildlife, including the largest subspecies of black bear, Ursus americanus carlottae and also the smallest subspecies of stout, Mustela erminea haidarum. Black tailed deer and raccoon are introduced species that have become abundant. The waters around these islands feature an abundance of coral reefs, kelp forests and all manner of sea life. Camping, biking, hiking, golfing, diving, ziplining, climbing, ATVing, caving, whale watching, and fishing are just a few of the variety of activities to do on the islands. It is believed that almost half of the population of Haida Gwaii is Haida, therefore, Aboriginal culture is thriving on the islands. Visiting hotsprings, Haida Heritage Centre and Haida Gwaii Museum, where several Haida people have been buried, are very popular activities to partake in. Visitors can explore Haida cultural sites dating back thousands of years. Guided tours are available throughout the summer months to those interested in examining uniquely constructed longhouses and the cultural practices of the Haida people.
Haida Gwaii consists of two major islands: Graham Island in the north and Moresby Island in the south. Graham Island is an extremely popular destination as Naikoon Provincial Park draws thousands of tourists each year. Visiting Tow Hill, a 400 foot cliff was formed by erupting lava millions of years ago. At the base of the cliff is the Blow Hole, a surge channel spraying clouds of mist when large waves crash into it. North Beach can also be found within Naikoon Provincial Park and is a huge attraction as it is well known as the most popular beach in the north. Cabins can be rented, and surfing and traditional activities like clam digging is among the favourite things for visitors to do.
Haida Gwaii is known as the “Galapagos of the north” as distinct flora and fauna have evolved for thousands of years. The area has been featured in The Nature of Things documentaries since the 1970s due to its unique forest and ecosystem. Many adventure and wildlife tourism TV series, throughout North America, have also featured the islands since the 1990s, reflecting the islands as an incredible globe trekking location.