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Artlish Caves Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Access to this park may be restricted
BC Parks is advising potential visitors to this park that local First Nations are in a continued state of emergency due to COVID-19. Visitors may find access to these locations restricted due to roadblocks on lands managed by local First Nations. Most services in these communities remain closed and visitors are being refused entry.
Please be advised that access to Artlish Caves Provincial Park is very difficult as a result of road deactivation activities outside of park boundaries.
Approaching from the west, by way of Atluck Lake, a bridge has been removed on East Artlish Main approximately 50m from the Artlish Main logging Road and visitors must now walk several kilometres on overgrown former logging roads to the park boundary and caves beyond.
Trails receive limited maintenance and are difficult to access; please exercise caution. Deactivated logging roads into the park, approached from the east from the Zebellos Mainline, are also overgrown and difficult to follow.
About This Park
Artlish Caves Provincial Park is known for its spectacular and unique karst features (a distinctive topography in which the landscape is largely shaped by the dissolving action of water on carbonate bedrock, usually limestone, dolomite or marble), which are of provincial and national significance.
The remote park features two large cave entrances and an underground river within an old growth forest environment. This area was proposed for protection by the local community for many years before becoming established as a park in 1996.
Although there may be potential for caving opportunities in the future, this area is sensitive and use is not recommended until a management plan is complete.
Established Date: April 30, 1996
Park Size: 285 ha
Know Before You Go
- Access to this park is by active logging roads. The chance of encountering loaded logging trucks while traveling these roads is highly likely. Logging trucks have the right of way; vehicles must yield to logging trucks and use pull-outs when possible.
- Visitors should be very careful when hiking through the forest as there are no developed trails. There are a number of hazards associated with karst topography, including sink-holes and grikes – places where people could, at the very least, twist their ankles.
- Visitors must also walk about 1 km of deactivated logging road prior to reaching the western boundary of the park. To access this 1 km of road, they must first cross a creek. Visitors should be aware that water levels in this creek can rise fairly quickly during periods of wet weather.
- Bring your own water, as potable water is not available in this park. Any surface water you may find must be boiled, filtered or treated prior to consumption.
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Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
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Nature and Culture
- Cultural Heritage: Artlish Caves lies within the traditional territory of the Kyuquot/Checleset First Nation peoples. Culturally modified trees (CMTs) can be seen in the park.
- Conservation: The park provides protection for Vancouver Island’s last remaining undisturbed karst unit that incorporates a major river cave. The Artlish River flows completely within the Artlish River Cave for a portion of its length. The park also protects an old growth valley bottom karst ecosystem with coastal western hemlock and western red cedar as well as some amabilis fir and Sitka spruce.
- Wildlife: The area provides winter habitat and a migration corridor for Roosevelt elk, as well as habitat for sockeye, Coho, Chinook, and pink salmon, steelhead and rainbow trout.
Activities Available at this Park
Note: Although there may be potential for additional caving opportunities in the future, this area is sensitive and use is not recommended until a management plan is complete.
White-nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that has been linked to mass die-off of hibernating bats in North America – it poses a significant threat to colonies in British Columbia. Please read the White Nose Syndrome fact sheet [PDF 552.76KB] to understand the disease, how to limit it’s spread, and find out what cavers and park visitors can do to help.