Broughton Archipelago is a wilderness area consisting of a maze of several small islands, numerous islets and adjacent foreshore at the southern extremity of Queen Charlotte Strait, off the west coast of Gilford Island. Located between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland, the islands in the marine park are undeveloped and are largely undiscovered. The numerous remote, solitary islands incorporated in the park provide unlimited and unique fishing and swimming opportunities.
There is no shortage of all-weather anchorages for cruising boats at various locations in Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park. Good, safe anchorages can be found at Waddington Bay, Farewell Harbour on Berry Island, Joe Cove on Eden Island and the cove on the southeast side of Crease Island.
Hikers visiting the islands should be aware of the presence of bears, particularly during the berry season. Be aware of possible bear encounters and follow the Safety Guide to Bears.
There are no designated campsites in the Broughton Archipelago, however there are a number of sites that kayakers have been using for overnight camping. These sites are open all year but only accessible by boat, and some are only accessible during certain tides and weather conditions. There are no facilities provided at any of these sites aside from simple open air pit toilets on Owl Island and Leone Island.
Most of these wilderness sites are only big enough for one or two tents and range from flat rock outcroppings to a level bench situated amongst the trees. Since fresh water is very difficult to come across, be sure to bring all that you require.
The many small islands and protected waters of Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park make the area an excellent place to sea kayak or canoe. Visitors from around the world come here to kayak amongst orcas and other marine mammals, experience camping in an unspoiled wilderness, enjoy world-class salt water fishing, and learn about First Nations culture. The southern portion of the park is the most popular, particularly in Village Channel and Indian Channel, however the rest of the park also offers excellent kayaking waters. Kayakers can enjoy the tranquil beauty of this area as they pick their way through a myriad of islands and islets, stopping to camp at various locations along the way.
Most kayakers launch at Telegraph Cove or Alder Bay, although the use of water taxis is becoming more and more popular as a method of quickly reaching the park. There are many commercial kayaking companies working in and around the park, and the use of commercial motherships is becoming more common. Kayakers should be aware that winds can pick up quickly in this area, as can rough water, so mariners should always practice caution.
Kayakers should always take the ebb and flow of tides into consideration and be prepared for heavy fog at any time. Paddlers who put in at Alder Bay or Telegraph Cove should remember that these are extremely busy shipping lanes and should time their crossings with extreme caution.
Evidence of early native settlement of these islands can be found in the petroglyphs carved onto a rock wall on Berry Island, close to an area known traditionally as the Chief’s Bathtub. Local legend recounts how the First Nations people heated the basin with hot rocks and used the ‘bathtub’ for ceremonial purposes.
Water and full amenities are available at nearby Echo Bay, just outside the northeast boundary of the park.
Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park is located between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia, offshore from Telegraph Cove. Access to the marine park is by boat only, from Telegraph Cove, Alert Bay and Port McNeill on Vancouver Island.
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