This park is currently closed due to fire hazard.
Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Please Note: During a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas of a park or protected area. Please read this Information Bulletin [PDF].
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
Visitor Information Please note: Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.

Ksgaxl/Stephens Island Conservancy

About This Conservancy

Ksgaxl Stephens Island Park Ksgaxl/Stephens Islands Conservancy is on the northwest coast of British Columbia, approximately 30 kilometres west of Prince Rupert, and is within the Traditional Territory of the Coast Tsimshian. The conservancy contains Stephens Island and other adjacent islands including Prescott Island, Philip Island, Arthur Island, Skiakl Island, the Archibald Islands and the Tree Nob Group.

Ksgaxl/Stephens Islands Conservancy was identified for conservancy status during negotiations between the provincial government and First Nations governments following the North Coast Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP).

Ksgaxl/Stephens Islands Conservancy protects an entire island group that has high marine and terrestrial values including habitat for numerous bird, marine mammal and marine invertebrate species. Ksgaxl is part of a world-class system of wilderness-oriented protected areas along the north and central coast of British Columbia. The terrestrial and marine ecosystems are healthy and productive.

The Ksgaxl/Stephens Islands area has a long history of use by First Nations. The conservancy is associated with Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla First Nations (collectively Coast Tsimshian).

Wilderness-based recreation opportunities in Ksgaxl include camping, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving and wildlife viewing. Recreational features include marine mammal viewing, small beaches, and many small island groups such as the Archibald Islands. The conservancy is collaboratively managed by the Coast Tsimshian and BC Parks.

Conservancy Size: 14,018 hectares – 9,446 hectares of upland and 4,572 hectares of foreshore

Date Established: June 27, 2008

Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. Ksgaxl/Stephens Islands Conservancy is located approximately 30 kilometres west of Prince Rupert and is only accessible by boat. Nearby communities include:
  • Lax Kw’alaams 47 kilometres
  • Metlakatla 24 kilometres
  • Prince Rupert 28 kilometres
  • Port Edward 25 kilometres
Back to Top

Nature and Culture

  • Cultural Heritage: Ksgaxl means “Place of Shrub” in the Coast Tsimshian language Sm’algyax. Nine recognized archaeological sites and at least seven named First Nation village sites are within the conservancy. The area has long been used by First Nations for food and ceremonial purposes. Ksgaxl and adjacent areas are still used for harvesting of marine species such as salmon, rockfish, halibut and red sea urchins, and other resources.

    Coast Tsimshian rights to Ksgaxl stem from a history of wars between the Tlingit and Haida going back thousands of years. Ancestors of present-day Coast Tsimshian shed blood to ensure their people could use the area for food gathering.

    Ksgaxl falls within the traditional territory of the Gitwilgyoots, the tribal stewards of the area. In appreciation of the tribes having stood beside them to protect the area, the Gitwilgyoots allocated portions of the islands to other tribes and house groups, such as the Coast Tsimshian, for activities such as harvesting of sea resources, hunting, trapping and camping.

    The islands are important intertidal harvesting area for sam’ k (clams), gaboox (cockles), galmoos and (crabs), hadani (black cod/sablefish), as well as t’ibiin (sealion) and uula (seal) and bilhaa (abalone). Kibaau (seaweed) is particularly important to those who currently camp on the islands.

    Many plants are harvested for medicinal and material purposes. Examples of plants used traditionally include: salmon berries, blueberries, huckleberries, hemlock cambium (inner bark), ha’tal (red cedar bark), wal (yellow cedar), luwi (alder tree), sahakwdak (yew), and wooms (devil’s club).

    For further information please contact:
  • Conservation: Ksgaxl protects a biologically diverse mix of marine and terrestrial ecosystems including numerous small islands and two moderate size islands, Stephens and Prescott. The terrestrial portions of these islands are important for marine mammal and bird nesting habitat, while the shallow waters around them support diverse marine plants and animals.
  • Wildlife: Terrestrial mammals in the conservancy include wolves, black-tailed deer, and a number of small fur-bearing animals. Marine mammals that use the area include killer whales (red-listed), humpback whales (blue-listed), Stellar sea lions (blue-listed), Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbour seals, and porpoises. Sea otters (blue-listed) have recently been reported from the Triple Island in the northern part of the conservancy and nearby Rachael Island, though it is unknown whether they are breeding in the area.
Back to Top

Management Planning

Management Planning Information
Back to Top

Activities Available at this Conservancy

Canoeing

Canoeing

Adventurous and experienced canoeists or kayakers may enjoy exploring the inlets, bays, lagoons, lakes and shorelines in this conservancy. The many inlets can be sheltered and calm, with landing beaches available. Wilderness and backcountry camping is allowed. Kayak rentals are available in Prince Rupert.
Fishing

Fishing

Excellent tidal water fishing opportunities for salmon and groundfish. Please consult the appropriate non-tidal fishing regulations for more information. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate license. Fishing licenses are available for purchase in Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

Salmon migration routes surround Stephens Island, but are mostly concentrated to the north of Stephens Island.
Hiking

Hiking

For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Trail Information: There are no developed trails at this park.
Hunting

Hunting

This conservancy is open to hunting during lawful hunting seasons. Please check the BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations for more information.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

There are opportunities for scuba diving in this marine conservancy. The water clarity is best during winter and spring.

Scuba diving at the Tree Nob Group is excellent due to the high marine species diversity and large underwater reefs with marine plants including eelgrass up to two metres long.
Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is possible in the ocean, but the water is cold all year round. There are no lifeguards on duty in the conservancy.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Waterfowl, eagles, spawning salmon and the occasional deer can be seen in the conservancy. Humpback whales, killer whales, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea lions and harbour seals can also be seen in the adjacent marine waters.
Back to Top

Facilities Available at this Conservancy

Campfires

Campfires

Campfires are permitted.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided.