We would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about your pending visit and what to expect.
The Queen Charlotte Islands are a collection of 150 Islands; the primary Islands being Graham Island in the North and Moresby Island in the South. The Queen Charlotte Islands are described as Canada's Galapagos and the indigenous name is Haida Gwaii.
A family friend, who has been both to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Galapagos in Ecuador, South America, tells us that the Queen Charlotte Islands are much better !!
Flora and fauna are markedly different from the mainland. Species and sub species particular to the Queen Charlottes include the world's largest black bear.
The two major cities are Masset and Queen Charlotte City ("QCC") which are situated on the highway system at the extreme north and extreme south of Graham Island, respectively. Masset is the largest city, with about 1,300 residents, while Queen Charlotte City has 900 residents. The driving distance between the two cities is less than 90 minutes.
QCC is both a government and tourist center due to the
Gwaii Haanas is one of 33 wilderness sites designated by Parks Canada, while Ninstints is only one of seven heritage sites in the World designated by UNESCO.
A typical excursion of a weeks duration from QCC into Gwaii Haanas is kayaking the ocean perimeter of Gwaii Haanas, whereas a typical day excursion from QCC would include a visit by sea plane to Ninstints. Both excursions are relatively expensive.
Everything that Queen Charlotte City is, Masset is and more . . . and still reasonably priced for the family.
Some seasonal activities in the Masset area with approximate dates are noted below.
Also July - Edge of the World Music Festival
The Queen Charlotte Islands have wonderful beaches and the best beaches are all located at the extreme north of Graham Island, about 26 kilometers past Masset on the road leading to Tow Hill. Beachcomb, crab, clam and otherwise enjoy. The locals drive their four by fours along the beach on the firm sand left during a receding tide. Along the road to Tow Hill, four long beaches are contiguous but very different.
The above beaches are all part of the Naikoon Provincial Park which is the Province of British Columbia's equivalent to the federal government's Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. The Naikoon Provincial Park has good public access, although, the park has not been well marketed internationally by the provincial government.
For the days when you don't want to cook in the fully-equipped kitchen, the best restaurant in town is only within a block and a half walking distance.
The local library occupies a quaint log cabin, reminiscent of bygone times. A desktop computer at the library provides free internet access to users.
Cycle alongside Masset Inlet to the largest Haida community on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Old Masset, which is adjacent to Masset.
Masset was formerly a military base and the city has substantial amenities that one would not expect in Northern B.C. including fibre optic communications and full recreation facilities. A supervised summer program for your children, including bus trips and sports day, is available at reasonable rates at the Rec. Centre.
Supervised wilderness forestry tours of about six hours duration are provided free by Weyerhaeuser at nearby Port Clements . The tour is highly recommended and advance reservations are required, call 1-250-557-4212.
Hike the various trails in Naikoon Provincial Park; a park that extends along a 100 kilometer coastline between Tlell and Masset.
The people in Masset are very friendly and they will be waving at you although you don't know them, and soon, you will find yourselves doing this to total strangers. This is small town living at its best and very enticing.
We think that this is the ultimate vacation for your family and we hope you share our enthusiasm for the outdoors.
Brion and Jane Bailey