Gwaii (formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands) consists of more than
150 islands located approximately 90 kilometres west of British
Columbia's north coast. The islands are divided into three
physiographic units - the Queen Charlotte Ranges, the Skidegate Plateau
and the Queen Charlotte Lowlands.
The Islands have a total area of 1,018,000 hectares with
parks and reserves. The islands attract visitors from all corners of the
world as a place to explore the west coast rainforest and associated
marine environments. Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve on Moresby
Island, and Naikoon Class 'A' Provincial Park on Graham Island border
the south and east sides of the timber supply area.
Forest products, recreation and native culture highlight
the range of values and uses found on the islands. Where drainage and
soil nutrient conditions are favourable, stands of trees can achieve
some of the fastest growth rates on the coast. Subdued terrains on the
Queen Charlotte Lowlands and Skidegate Plateau have extensive bogs and
nutrient poor stands, while rugged steep terrain dominates the west
coast. As a result, only a small percentage of the timber supply area
is available for timber harvesting.
Haida Gwaii are a large and complex island ecological
system. Animals unique to the area include a sub-species of North
American black bear, a sub-species of marten (both larger than their
mainland cousins), and species of deer mouse, dusky shrew and short-tailed
Concerns over the population decline of the Haida
Gwaii goshawk and marbled murrelet prompted their listing as
provincially red-listed threatened and endangered species. Sitka black-tailed
deer, raccoons, squirrels, beaver and three species of rats were
introduced to the islands and now exist in great numbers - much to
the detriment of some native plants and animals.
Haida Gwaii includes the communities of Sandspit,
Queen Charlotte City, Skidegate, Tlell, Port Clements, Masset and Old
According to the 2011 Census, about 4,370 people
reside on Haida Gwaii. In 2011, the population for each
community was: Sandspit (297), Alliford Bay (20), Village of Queen
Charlotte (944), Skidegate (709), Tlell/Tow Hill/Lawn Hill/Miller
Creek (524), Port Clements (378), Masset (884), and Old Massett
Haida Gwaii is largely a resource based economy, with
forestry the predominant sector.
The forest industry sector accounts for approximately
19 per cent of Haida Gwaii total labour force. Forestry employment
includes logging and forestry services, and primary timber
manufacturing. Primary timber manufacturing presently occurs at three
small- to medium-sized mills on Haida Gwaii, although a number of
other small mills operate intermittently. The majority of timber is
shipped to the mainland for processing.
The public sector is also an important source of
employment and income for residents of Haida Gwaii. The service
sector, consisting of finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE),
accommodation, wholesale and retail trade, other personal services,
and transportation, communications and utilities (TCU) also support a
substantial percentage of the labour force.
Haida Gwaii has been home to the Haida people for as
long as oral history and archaeology have recorded occupation of the islands.
At least 14,000 people have lived in over 126 known village sites.
Following first contact with Europeans, the population plummeted to
589 by 1911, all resident in either Skidegate or Old Massett. Today,
two out of three Haida live off-island, many of whom are planning to
In 1993, a statement of intent to pursue treaty
negotiations was filed. While progress towards achieving an agreement
has slowed, cases pending in the courts could ultimately affect the
size of the timber harvesting land base. Such cases include: defining
the meaning of proof of aboriginal title; and how Haida interests
could affect area-based tenures issued by the province
In 1998, the Haida Accord was finalized, which stated
that the Council of the Haida Nation would represent the Haida people
in relation to the provincial and federal governments on matters
dealing with land and resources.
Food, shelter, medicines, and material culture have
been prepared from over two hundred species of plants. Most physical
evidence of this use, primarily in the form of culturally modified
trees has been lost to commercial harvesting. Much of the Haida
cultural expression depends on yellow and red cedar. The demand for
all ages of these tree species is increasing during the current renaissance
of Haida art, especially for monumental trees suitable for canoes,
poles, and longhouses. Interest in the economic opportunities of
forestry has also increased. In part to protect the supply of such
resources for future generations, 14 areas of interest (nine in the
timber supply area) have been identified by the Council of Haida
Nation or by the Haida House of Assembly.
Any known information regarding the Haida's culture
that affects timber supply will be considered in the timber supply