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CULTURAL COMMUNITIES IN THE
CLAYOQUOT SOUND biosphere reserve

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 to be"

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 Ucluelet.

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 Ecologe 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.

Phone: (250) 725-1220     |     Email: info@tbgf.org     |     1084 Pacific Rim Hwy; PO Box 886; Tofino BC; V0R 2Z0