Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy
About This Conservancy
The people of the Haida Nation have occupied and collected food and materials from the Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy area since time immemorial. There are seven known Haida villages and seasonal camps within the heritage site/conservancy at Gasi’ndas, Kaidju, Skaito, Kaisun, Nest, Chaatl, and Sl’asit.
The remote location of Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy provides an excellent opportunity to maintain biological diversity and natural environment values. Of concern, though is the presence of introduced mammals (e.g., Raccoons, Norway Rats and Black-tailed Deer) which pose a threat to local ecosystems. Sowthistle, an invasive non-native plant, also occurs here.
Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy has an important role in providing recreational opportunities such as fishing, wildlife viewing, kayaking and other boat travel, anchorage locations and places suitable for wilderness camping and hiking in a remote wilderness setting.
The terrestrial component of the heritage site/conservancy covers 70,490 hectares and extends from the southern edge of Rennell Sound and Graham Island, along the western shores of Moresby Island to Tasu Sound. The elevation range is from sea level to 1,120 metres.
The marine component/foreshore area covers an area of 45,785 hectares. The marine environment is at the edge of the continental shelf and has high intertidal values with surfgrass habitat and eelgrass beds, kelp forest areas and nine estuaries that spill into some of the most productive marine habitat on Haida Gwaii.
Conservancy Size: 116,275 hectares (70,490 hectares of upland and 45,785 hectares of foreshore)
Location and Maps
Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy is located on the west-central coast of Haida Gwaii, 25 kilometres west of the communities of Queen Charlotte, Skidegate and Sandspit. It is part of an archipelago-wide system of protected areas that includes Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, several provincial parks and ecological reserves, and ten other heritage site/conservancies. In total, half of the land base of Haida Gwaii is now in protected status.
Nature and Culture
Seventeen recorded archaeological sites contain an impressive diversity of cultural items. These include culturally modified trees (CMTs), a ceremonial rock feature, a pictograph, cultural material, shell midden, human remains, a mortuary pole, habitation feature, fish bones inside a cave, a cultural depression, historical log cabin and house posts. Many of these areas have not been inventoried thoroughly which indicates that the heritage site/conservancy likely contains many other unrecorded cultural heritage and archaeological sites.
Of special significance are natural features within the coastal ecological communities of Sitka spruce – Pacific reedgrass as well as the limestone landscapes throughout the area that provide a unique substrate for uncommon plant species.
There is a tremendous diversity throughout the tidal and non-tidal waters. The heritage site/conservancy contains nine estuaries that are home to important eelgrass and surfgrass habitat. The area northwest of Kindaken rock has been recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a unique marine ecosystem. Also, Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy contains 4% of Haida Gwaii’s fish-bearing waters. Freshwater streams such as Gudal, Cone Head and Jiinaanga are known to host Coho salmon, chum salmon, pink salmon, sockeye salmon, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and Steelhead.
The cultural heritage values in the heritage site/conservancy include opportunities for the ongoing continuance of Haida culture through traditional use of the area. Some examples of traditional use within Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy may include monumental cedar and cedar bark harvesting, seaweed harvesting, medicinal plant harvesting, hunting, fishing, trapping and food gathering. The heritage site/conservancy also provides a place for the physical expression of culture through monumental art such as totems or establishment of traditional style infrastructure such as longhouses.
- Management Planning Information
- The management plan for Daawuuxusda Heritage Site/Conservancy was approved in 2011 by both BC Parks and the Haida Nation.