Environment & Sustainability

Clayoquot Sound is a treasure chest of environmental jewels: from the glittering diamonds of sunlight dancing across the wavetops to the emerald velvet of old-growth rainforest carpeting the mountaintops.

The rainforests of Clayoquot Sound are part of a larger 74,000 km-stretch of Pacific temperate rainforest along coastal BC.

North America’s only temperate rainforest ecosystem, it is one of only 7 in the world, producing a significant amount of the oxygen we breathe here on the west coast. Some of the western red cedars on Meares Island, at the heart of the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park, are over a thousand years old.

In 1984, to block logging of those gems, to preserve those trees that are a part of the Tla-o-qui-aht ha-houlth-ee and Nuu-chah-nulth culture, Meares Island was designated one of the first Tribal Parks in Canada.

The Clayoquot Blockades in 1993, also known as the War in the Woods, united traditional and environmental values as the Nuu-chah-nulth people worked with 12,000 activists from across the country to stop continued efforts to log old-growth rainforest.

In 2000, Clayoquot Sound was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its unique biodiversity. It is home to a wealth of marine life from resident and transient orcas, humpbacks and gray whales to invertebrates like the ‘fried-egg jellyfish’; and to over 200 species of birds: shorebirds, songbirds and birds of prey like owls, eagles and osprey. Sea otters, reintroduced to the area after earlier extirpation, can be spotted bobbing on the waves as you travel out to watch whales & wildlife.

As a result of continued efforts to protect this unique place, it has become an eco-tourism destination. Today, it is a destination for surfing and sportfishing, paddleboarding and kayaking, hiking and camping. Life on the edge has its appeal for those who live and play here.

Adventure tourism has contributed to scientific knowledge with a 40-year collection of whale sightings being compiled into a database other researchers can learn from. A longer historical overview of whale species in Clayoquot Sound is emerging as a result of Tla-o-qui-aht traditional knowledge.

Locals are committed to beach clean-ups of marine debris and litter. Practice leave-no-trace principles to help preserve this spectacular place. Take a photo instead of a sand dollar as souvenir.

To plant your feet in the ocean is to ground yourself. Be present. Inhale the ocean breeze; exhale all your cares and stress.

To travel out across the water is to marvel at nature’s abundance while watching whales & wildlife. To soak in the natural Hot Springs is to experience Nirvana.