Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park


Location: Vancouver Island British Columbia
Region: Outside Ontario
Character: Marine Park
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Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park
By Parks Canada

Connecting the Land, the Sea, the People

The Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site was established on June 17, 2010 thereby protecting the waters surrounding Gwaii Haanas. Gwaii Haanas is currently the only place on Earth to be protected from mountain top to sea floor.

The Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve extends about ten kilometres offshore from Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, and encompases approximately 3,400 km2 of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Shelf Marine Regions.

The maritime world of Gwaii Haanas is rich and diverse. Under the waters of the Hecate Strait, lie the contours of a former tundra like plain, with meandering rivers, lakes and beach terraces- a landscape drowned when sea levels rose after the last ice age. Off the west coast of Gwaii Haanas, the Queen Charlotte Shelf drops away abruptly to about 2,500 metres. This is an area of many transitions- between ocean abyss, continental slope, shallow shelf, and the dramatically upthrust landmass of the islands. These “ecological edges” make for great biological richness.

Clean, nutrient rich water supports productive kelp forest communities and some of the most abundant, diverse and colourful intertidal communities found in temperate waters anywhere in the world.