Five communities are located within the boundaries of the Clayoquot Sound
Biosphere Reserve. The first non-indigenous settlement in the region was
at the village of Clayoquot on Stubbs Island. The community of Tofino
was established in the early 1900s. The road linking Tofino and Ucluelet
was built during World War II, but this road was not connected to the
east coast of Vancouver Island until 1959.
Tofino (Population 1466*)
Tofino lies on the western tip of the Esowista Peninsula and serves as
a hub for many of the outlying First Nations communities. Tofino was named
in honour of Spanish hydrographer Don Vincent Tofino. Tofino is a popular
tourist destination and has been growing rapidly in the past years. It
has been estimated that the town's population can reach 20,000 on an average
summer day. The surrounding beaches, wilderness and the vibrant community
continues to attract new residents and visitors alike.
traditional nuu-chah-nulth territory
The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is located in traditional Nuu-chah-nulth
territory. "Nuu-chah-nulth" is loosely translated to mean "all
along the mountains." The Nuu-chah-nulth include fourteen First Nations
of which three have communities within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.
Clayoquot Sound takes its name from the Tla-o-qui-aht people. The name
has been said to mean "people who are different from who they used
Hupits'ath / Opitsaht (Population 148*)
The warm, south-facing beach on Meares Island makes an ideal village site.
Opitsaht has been inhabited by the Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations
for thousands of years. Today, Opitsaht is one of two main villages of
the Tla-o-qui-aht people. The name Opitsaht has been said to mean "the
sun rises on it" or "the sun rises and sets there." The
village is only accessible by water. Children from Opitsaht travel on
a school boat to attend elementary school in Tofino or high school in
Hisaawist'a / Esowista (Population 141*)
People of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation also live in the village of Esowista
on Long Beach .Esowista was originally an important site during the whaling
season of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Nearby Wa7ichulhh or Box Island protects
the site from storms and provided a calm landing place for canoes. Wa7ichulhh
means "resting place." The village site provides ideal access
to the resources of the open ocean, forest and inner waters of the Sound.
Esowista lies within the boundaries of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Maaktusiis / Ahousaht (Population 557*)
The name "Ahousaht" is anglicized from the native word "7aahuus7ath",
meaning "people of 7aahuus." 7aahuus is the name of a summer
village once located on Ahous Point on the southwest side of Vargas Island.
Today the Ahousaht people live at Maaktusiis, also called Ahousaht, on
Flores Island. Maaktusiis means "moving from one side to another."
Ahousaht has its own elementary and high school and is only accessible
by boat or float plane.
Hot Springs Cove (Population 77*)
The name Hesquiaht is derived from "haysh haysha," which describes
the sound made when people eat herring eggs off eelgrass. Today, Hot Springs
Cove is the main year-round village of the Hesquiaht First Nation though
other traditional sites continue to be used throughout the area. In 1964,
a tidal wave destroyed the village at the head of Hot Springs Cove. The
community has since relocated to the cove's western hillside. Hot Springs
Cove is accessible only by boat or float plane.
*Community Populations from 2001 Census data
Today the forests, rivers and oceans of Clayoquot Sound continue to support
our communities. The regional economy encompasses tourism, aquaculture,
forestry, fishing and various small businesses.
It has been estimated that Tofino's population can reach 20,000 on an
average summer day.
The Clayoquot Field Station is an important first step in the development
of a Research and Education sector of the regional economy.
Clayoquot Sound is part of an international network of Biosphere Reserves
with a mandate for research and education, and sharing information on
issues of conservation and development in various places around the world.