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Gwaii Haanas: wet wilderness. Huge rains. Swelling, deep seas. Rivers rolling from mountaintops. Water creates the life and breath of this ancient world. Gwaii Haanas is known for its diverse ecosystems, distinct flora and fauna, living Haida culture, and cooperative management model. By safeguarding these marine ecosystems along with the land itself, the Haida Nation and Canada have the potential to create one of the greatest protected areas on Earth, from mountain top to sea floor.

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 was Canada’s first NMCA.

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

The 3500 square kilometre seascape surrounds the spectacular Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.  The land and sea ecosystems are interdependent, and both are now officially joined. This means that an area stretching from the mountain tops of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to 2500 metres below the sea surface in a deep, ocean valley of the National Marine Conservation Area Reserve will be conserved.

Currently, the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have drafted the Gwaii Haanas Gina ‘Waadlux̲an KilG̲uhlG̲a Land-Sea-People Management Plan. This plan will determine the management and protection measures in Gwaii Haanas for the next 10 years, and set a precedent for decades to come.


In addition to conserving this sensitive ecosystem, the Haida Nation and Canada have also protected the living culture of the Haida people. The ocean connects the Haida people, and is as much a part of their heritage, as the earth and stone of their islands.

SGang Gwaay, or Anthony Island, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides a stunning example of living Haida culture and the enduring relationship between the Haida and the land and the sea.

Totem poles, Gwaii Haanas