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About This Conservancy
Located on the northwest side of Princess Royal Island and connected to Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy, Moksgm’ol/Chapple-Cornwall Conservancy protects the habitat of the Kermode (Spirit) Bear, rare karst forest ecosystems, old-growth forests, a diversity of wildlife habitats, several small lakes, wetlands and streams as well as important salmon spawning habitat. A number of small bays and inlets are contained within this conservancy. One such inlet, Emily Carr Inlet/Sager Islets, contains high biodiversity values, including rare plant species, cave and karst topography. The forest is atypical of outer coastal forests, being exceptionally productive due to the presence of marble and limestone.
The conservancy and adjacent areas also have important recreational values to local and international visitors. Floating lodges, fishing (fresh and saltwater), heli-hiking, bear viewing and safe boat anchorages are some of the recreational uses.
The area also contains several culturally significant sites to local First Nations, including old village sites, traditional use areas, and several archaeological sites. One village site, Kayel, is still used by the Gitga’at First Nation each spring as a seaweed harvesting and fishing site.
Established Date: July 13, 2006
Conservancy Size: 29,116 ha
Know Before You Go
- There are no trails and only a few old, overgrown logging roads in this wilderness area. There are some old roads near the west side of Chapple Inlet and an old road along the south side of Whalen Creek that leads to the Whalen Creek waterfalls (about 15 minute hike in) and to the west end of Whalen Lake. These old logging roads are not maintained.
- For Kermode bear gene protection, all Black Bear hunting is closed within 1 km of the Whalen Creek Estuary near the northwest end of Princess Royal Island.
- Be bear aware while on shore in this conservancy.
- There is a whale research station near the conservancy, located in Taylor Bight at the south end of Gil Island. It is called Cetacealab and is operated by the North Coast Cetacean Society, a charitable organization dedicated to the research and protection of whales in BC coastal waters. They primarily study Humpback and Killer Whales that frequent Caamano Sound to Douglas Channel. Use the following link for more information or to contact them: www.whaleresearch.ca.
Location and Maps
Moksgm’ol/Chapple-Cornwall Conservancy is only accessible by boat, floatplane or helicopter and is located about 35 km south of Hartley Bay and 105 km southwest of Kitimat. It is located along the northwest side of Princess Royal Island.
- Reference: Marine Charts #3719 (Chapple Inlet); #3723 (Barnard Harbour); #3724 (Caamano Sound & Approaches); #3742 (Otter Passage to McKay Reach).
- Reference: 1:50,000 scale Topographic Maps #103 A/14 (Caamano Sound); #103 A/15 (Laredo Inlet); #103 H/2 (Butedale); #103 H/3 (Gil Island).
Kitimat Visitor Information Centre
PO Box 214
2109 Forest Avenue
Kitimat, BC, Canada V8C 2G7
phone: 250-632-6294 or 1-800-664-6554
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- History: Moksgm’ol/Chapple-Cornwall Conservancy was designated as a conservancy on July 14, 2006 following recommendations from the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan. There were three previous mineral claims in the conservancy. The “Sable” claims of 1989 targeted black granite in Barnard Harbour and on Borde Island. The “Cordilla” claims of 1920 targeted pyritized quartz veins containing gold and silver on the west side of Drake Inlet, near Cornwall Inlet. From 1921-1922, a 91 metre adit was driven along a mineralized shear zone. The “Campania” claims of 1920 targeted partly mineralized quartz veins containing copper, silver and gold near Leading Point on the northwest side of Princess Royal Island. Adits, shafts and trenches were worked along the veins from 1920-1934.
There is an old wooden hull fishing boat wreck on the beach at the entrance to Barnard Harbour, on the northeast side. The UTM coordinates for the boat wreck are: Zone 09U; 5880950 m North; 0492823 m East.
- Cultural Heritage: The conservancy is in the asserted traditional territories of the Gitga’at and Gitxaala First Nations. The conservancy contains eight known archaeological sites (pre-contact shell middens, culturally modified trees, fish traps, canoe skid, habitation and burial sites) and has historically been used for the traditional harvest of shellfish, seaweed and trapping by local First Nations. Because of their ghost-like appearance, “Spirit Bears” hold a prominent place in the First Nations mythology of the area and is known to them as Moksgm’ol.
There are three Indian Reserves (IR) adjacent to and excluded from the conservancy. IR #7 (Kahas) is located in Cameron Cove (Barnard Harbour); IR #8 (Kayel) is located south of Redfern Point and east of Ashdown Island; and IR #9 (Lackzuswadda) is located on Sager Islets near the entrance to Chapple Inlet.
Use the below links for more information or to contact these First Nations.
- Gitga’at First Nation
- Gitxaala First Nation: No website at this time.
PO Box 149
Kitkatla, BC V0V 1C0
- Conservation: The conservancy protects an area of cultural and historical value to the local First Nations as well as high recreational use and old-growth forests of red cedar, hemlock and spruce, portions of small coastal streams and coastal wildlife habitat including important salmon spawning streams and habitat for Kermode Bears. The conservancy also protects karst features and caves with white marble near Chapple Inlet.
- Wildlife: Black Bears, wolves, 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. This conservancy protects a population and habitat of Kermode Bears. The Kermode Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the “Spirit Bear”, is a subspecies of the American Black Bear living in the central and north coast of British Columbia and noted for about 1/10 of their population having white or cream-colored fur. This color variant is due to a unique recessive trait in their gene pool – they are neither albino nor related to polar bears. The Kermode Bear was named after Francis Kermode, former director of the Royal B.C. Museum who researched the species. Because of their ghost-like appearance, “Spirit Bear” hold a prominent place the First Nations mythology of the area and is known to them as Moksgm’ol. During the February 2006 Throne Speech by the Government of British Columbia, the Kermode Bear was designated as British Columbia’s official mammal.
- Management Planning Information
- Online Management planning information for this conservancy is not available at this time.
Activities Available at this Conservancy
Pets on Leash
Black Bears, wolves, 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.
This conservancy protects a population and habitat of Kermode bears. The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the “Spirit Bear”, is a subspecies of the American black bear living in the central and north coast of British Columbia and noted for about 1/10 of their population having white or cream-colored fur. This colour variant is due to a unique recessive trait in their gene pool – they are neither albino nor related to polar bears. The Kermode bear was named after Francis Kermode, former director of the Royal B.C. Museum who researched the species.
Because of their ghost-like appearance, “Spirit Bear” hold a prominent place in the First Nations mythology of the area and is known to them as Moksgm’ol. During the February 2006 Throne Speech by the Government of British Columbia, the Kermode bear was designated as British Columbia’s official mammal.