Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park

History

This park was established on September 16, 1992 as a result of B.C.’s Protected Areas Strategy.

Cultural Heritage

Broughton Archipelago Park has a rich cultural heritage. The area’s sheltered waters and rich ocean life was the breadbasket for a number of First Nation peoples who developed clam terraces and villages in the area. The remains of these are still visible today. Park visitors can easily see the large clam and mussel shell deposits that make up the midden sites and the experienced eye may spot culturally modified trees (CMTs) or the park’s petroglyph, located on a rock wall on the north side of Berry Island. Near the petroglyph you will see a rock formation known as the “Chief’s Bathtub”, which is a natural rock basin that fills at high tide. Folklore has it that the local native chief would bath in this rock basin in water that been warmed with hot stones taken from a nearby fire.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, this area saw some settlement by Europeans and there are still signs of their activities and presence, including overgrown homesteads.

Conservation

Broughton Archipelago contains a rare combination or marine and terrestrial values, which makes a significant contribution to the Provincial Protected Area system. The park contains one of the most under-represented terrestrial ecosystems in the province - the Outer Fiordland Ecosection Coastal Western Hemlock very wet maritime submontane variant. Currently only 1.3% of this ecosystem is protected in BC. One of only three protected areas with this ecosection, the Broughton Archipelago contains 63% of the protected examples. This gives it a critical role in the system as a representative of the protected and exposed marine ecosystems.

Wildlife

Broughton Archipelago contains a number of unique natural values. Several species of marine mammals, including Orcas (killer whales), harbour seals, harbour porpoises, sea lions and sea otters utilize habitats found in this Protected Area. River otters, mink and raccoons can often be seen playing along the shoreline, coastal black-tailed deer are commonplace on these islands, and black bears can occasionally be spotted rolling boulders on the shore in search of food. Bald eagles are common within the park boundaries as are many other seabirds, such as Harlequin ducks, cormorants and Great Blue Herons. Most species of salmon can be also found in the area.

For those wishing to view Orcas in their natural habitat, the best opportunities within this park are along its western boundaries. Boaters or kayakers frequenting this area may also see Humpback or Minke whales. Smaller species like porpoises and dolphins may also be seen throughout the park, and there are several sea lion haul-outs within the Broughton Archipelago’s boundaries.

Many of these species are easily disturbed by the close proximity of kayaks and other vessels. As a general rule of thumb, vessels should not approach closer than 100 metres to these wildlife species. With seals and sea lions on shore, vessel operators should ensure they do not force the animal into the water. Every time a sea lion or seal is forced into the water it loses body temperature and energy; repeated incidents can endanger the animals’ health.

When in the vicinity of seals and sea lions basking on shore, vessel operators should be very aware of the state of the animals’ behaviour. If the animals seem agitated or disturbed (rocking back and forth, making growling or barking sounds) back your vessel away and leave.