gwaii-haanas

Gwaii Haanas

Gwaii Haanas: wet wilderness. Huge rains. Swelling, deep seas. Rivers rolling from mountaintops. Water creates the life and breath of this ancient world. It flows as it always has – in a special world that denied glaciation. By safeguarding these marine ecosystems along with the land itself, Canada and the Haida Nation have created one of the greatest vertically-protected areas on Earth. The protected area rises to mountaintops on land and falls 2500 metres below the sea surface to a deep, ocean valley. The interdependent species at every elevation can continue to evolve as nature intended.

Great news! Gwaii Haanas marine conservation area approved by Parliament

National marine conservation area now established

On June 11, 2010, the House of Commons and Senate Committees approved the proposal to establish the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve (NMCA) and Haida Heritage Site! This is Canada's first NMCA.

Marine conservation area and island national park officially joined

The new 3500 square kilometre seascape surrounds the spectacular Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.  The land and sea ecosystems of these B.C. islands are interdependent.  Both are now protected. This means that an area stretching from the mountain tops of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to the deepest seabeds of the National Marine Conservation Area is permanently conserved, protecting some of Canada's most iconic coastal and underwater life.   

Congratulations to all

CPAWS congratulates the Haida Nation who worked for decades with Parks Canada, CPAWS, and many others to conserve this special place.

About Gwaii Haanas: Wet Wilderness

Gwaii Haanas: wet wilderness. Huge rains. Swelling, deep seas. Rivers rolling from mountaintops. Water creates the life and breath of this ancient world. It flows as it always has – in a special world that denied glaciation.

By safeguarding these marine ecosystems along with the land itself, Canada and the Haida Nation have created one of the greatest vertically-protected areas on Earth. The park rises to mountaintops on land and falls 2500 metres below the sea surface to a deep, ocean valley. The interdependent species at every elevation can continue to evolve as nature intended.

People-land-sea

In addition to conserving this sensitive ecosystem, Canada and the Haida Nation have also protected the ancient civilizations of the Haida people – a world of archipelago, joined by water. Their ocean connects their people. It is as much a part of their heritage, as the earth and stone on their islands.

Today, remnants of their old civilizations and totem poles defy time in a world heritage site known as SGang Gwaay or Anthony Island. Their incomparable land – a lush, stormy, big-tree wilderness – is a national park reserve.

CPAWS part of a group effort

CPAWS worked with Parks Canada and the Haida Nation to protect the marine area surrounding Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve through the establishment of a national marine conservation area.

Gwaii Haanas – Quick Facts

  • The National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) around Gwaii Haanas – extending 10 kilometres offshore – protects 3500 square kilometres of ocean.
  • The Queen Charlotte shelf drops 2500 metres from the island creating an underwater “ecological edge” with biological bounty.
  • From mountaintop to ocean shelf, Gwaii Haanas would become one of the great, fully protected, vertical ecosystems in the world.
  • The Gwaii Haanas marine ecosystems support kelp forests, hundreds of species of fish, seabirds, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises and many different whales, including humpback, orca and minke whales.
  • Gray whales pit-stop in these waters on their migration to Alaska.
  • In Burnaby Narrows alone, over 200 species of animals, including sea stars and snails have been identified in huge concentrations.

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