The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people". We encourage you to be an ecotourist while travelling in Gwaii Haanas or anywhere on Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands. You can help local island people provide high quality tourism experiences for you and future visitors by following these ecotourism principles:
If you purchase local food and locally made gift items, you support the local economy. Most goods and services can be purchased on-island.
When Choosing a Licensed Operator
Consider if the company you choose is locally owned, hires local staff or buys goods and services locally. Some licensed operators have a more positive local impact than others. Think about this as one criteria when choosing your commercial licensed operator.
Adjust to Island Time
Slow down and adjust your pace to the life style of the islands. Allow yourself extra time to get to know this distinctive location.
Respect Cultural Sites
For Haida people, old village sites are not considered "abandoned," but rather vital parts of the living and dynamic Haida culture. Treat burial sites, cultural features and artifacts with respect. Do not remove or distrub artifacts, bones or other cultural remains. Do not dig into middens or strip bark from trees.
Ask before you photograph people, their homes or cultural sites. Showing respect and appreciation for island people and the natural environment will be appreciated.
Ecologically Sound Products
Minimal packaging, biodegradable toiletries, dish and laundry soap will make your pack lighter and our local ecosystems healthier. Remember to pack out what you packed in.
On Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, we have limited garbage disposal options and what we do have, is expensive. Where possible, reduce or eliminate your packaging before you leave home. If travelling with a commercial licensed operator, ask them how they dispose of garbage and how much they pay for that disposal. We have free recycling depots on island and encourage both you and your operators to take advantage of them.
Island communities can experience water shortages during the summer. Please conserve water.