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Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park
About This Park
Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park is located in Kyuquot Sound on northwestern Vancouver Island. The closest settlement to the park is the village of Kyuquot, which lies about 20 km to the west.
This rugged, isolated park is one of the largest parks on Vancouver Island and features old growth forest, two lakes, a scenic river canyon and river valleys. The south end of the park encircles the Tahsish River Ecological Reserve, with the river portion of the ecological reserve providing the primary access into the park.
Accessible primarily by boat, this park offers outstanding wilderness recreation opportunities, including wildlife viewing, old-growth forest exploration, backcountry hiking and camping, nature study and fresh water fishing. Tahsish-Kwois also contains one of the most important Roosevelt elk winter ranges on Vancouver Island. Bald eagles are common year-round, particularly during salmon runs.
Established Date: July 12, 1995
Park Size: 10,972 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Logging road access to Kyuquot Sound can be potentially hazardous due to encounters with heavy industrial traffic. The chance of encountering loaded logging trucks while traveling these roads is highly likely. Logging trucks have the right of way at all times. Drives should use caution and yield to logging trucks; use pullouts whenever possible.
- Campfires: This park is closed to campfires except for within 2 km of the coastline.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Vehicles can reach the shore of Kyuquot Sound at either Fair Harbour or Artlish River by way of roads to Zeballos. The park can also be entered on foot at its eastern boundary via a logging road that branches from the road to Zeballos. Travel in the park is restricted to boating or walking.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- History: Tahsish-Kwois Park was established in 1995 as part of the Vancouver Island Land Use plan. An additional 193 hectares was added to the park in 2001; this acquisition protects valuable estuary habitat at the mouth of the Tahsish River and some old growth forest.
- Cultural Heritage: Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park lies within the traditional territory of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations. The Tahsish River estuary contains a heritage site situated in Kyuquot Indian Reserve No. 11. This site was a historic First Nations village inhabited during the salmon season. There are no standing structures, but archaeological deposits are expected to be present.
Historic documents and native legend refer to a major trade route known as the Grease Trail between Tahsish Inlet and the mouth of Nimpkish River via the Tahsish River valley, Atluck Lake and Nimpkish Lake. It is also apparent from the establishment of Kyuquot Indian Reserve No. 11 that the Tahsish River area was a traditional hunting and fishing area.
- Conservation: Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park and the adjacent Ecological Reserve area are situated at the head of Kyuquot Sound where the Tahsish River flows into Tahsish Inlet. This park is one of the largest parks on Vancouver Island, covering approximately 11,022 hectares. The park’s natural features include old growth clad 1,200 metre high mountains, a high-elevation lake (850 metres), a significant low-elevation lake (100 metres), a scenic river canyon and U-shaped river valleys. The adjacent Ecological Reserve encompasses 70 hectares of an island tidal estuary containing tidal meadows, a rare plant species, Roosevelt elk and black bear habitat.
Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park has three rivers which provide fish rearing habitat for provincially significant populations of salmonid species. Only one river, the Tahsish, is not wholly contained within the park, but has its source and half its length beyond the park’s eastern boundary.
The Tahsish-Kwois system supports all anadromous and resident salmonid species native to Vancouver Island. In the estuary of the Tahsish River, the network of channels with various depths, flow characteristics and substrates present provides migrating, spawning and particularly rearing habitat for salmonid fish. The Tahsish watershed supports populations of at least 10 species of fish.
- Wildlife: The watersheds that comprise Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park are a natural ecosystem supporting viable populations of most wildlife species occurring on Vancouver Island. All the major predator and fur-bearing species inhabit the area, including grey wolves, cougar, black bears, Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, mink, raccoon and river otter. The park also supports a variety of birds associated with the aquatic and old growth forest habitat. Estimates indicate that the lower Tahsish ranks as one of the best elk ranges on Vancouver Island.
Activities Available at this Park
NOTE: Hunting is prohibited in all British Columbia Ecological Reserves.