Today the legacy pole is raised at Windy Bay, Gwaii Haanas, in Haida Gwaii!

– A 5-minute video from the Haida Nation and Parks Canada about the pole:

This beautiful pole, carved over the last year by Jaalen Edenshaw, commemorates the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Gwaii Haanas agreement, between the Haida Nation and Parks Canada, part of the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

Gwaii Haanas was created after a long campaign in the 1980s by environmentally aware citizens, including the Haida Nation and some of Maple Leaf’s long-time naturalists, to stop the clearcut logging of the “south Moresby” area’s 138 islands – now Gwaii Haanas.

Windy Bay itself was a key location in this campaign. It was the site of a 1985 Haida blockade of a logging road, which was one of the important events that brought about the area’s protection.

Haida Gwaii by Kevin Smith

Even before the protected area was created, people were drawn to visit this beautiful region of southern Haida Gwaii (off the coast of British Columbia, Canada). Also known as the Canadian Galapagos, these islands are rich in marine life, including wildlife, and some species exhibit evolutionary differences from their mainland counterparts.

It’s an important moment, to see a new pole raised in Gwaii Haanas, which is also known for its Haida village sites containing spectacular, still-standing, hundreds-of-years-old monumental poles.

The Haida have lived in this archipelago for at least 14,000 years and probably longer. Although there are presently no modern Haida towns in Gwaii Haanas, the village sites that we visit here are incredible. We often visit Windy Bay on our Maple Leaf expedition cruises, and we look forward to sharing this pole with our guests. This spring, our guests were able to see the pole as it was being carved in Skidegate, at the Haida Heritage Centre.

Old monumental poles, at UN World Heritage Site SGang Gwaay. Photo by Kevin Smith on a Maple Leaf trip

In addition to the ethical and environmental reasons to protect Gwaii Haanas – these are the most important reasons – Gwaii Haanas’ protection has been very important to maintaining the high quality and great experience of the trips we have offered in the area since the 1980s. Its co-management between Parks Canada and the Haida Nation is an example to other jurisdictions.

Fun fact: Prior to establishment of Gwaii Haanas, Maple Leaf Adventures and our fellow ecotourism operators at the Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association, created a Code of Conduct for this very special place in order to protect its cultural sites and wildlife. This Code of Conduct is still in use today.

– Maureen

Click for more information about our Gwaii Haanas tours (9-day cruises aboard the classic schooner Maple Leaf).