Expect more tourists in Haida Gwaii, thanks to the New York Times

Whenever a relatively distant part of B.C. gets highlighted in a huge American media outlet, it invariably increases people's curiosity. 

Such is the case with a New York Times piece this weekend celebrating Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Written by Bruce Kirkby, it centres on a visit to the village of Hlk'yah, which is in an area of forested area of "storybook proportions".

Kirkby refers to "industrial-style logging" that has taken place in the past on Haida Gwaii. (In the 1990s, this was chronicled by B.C. writer Ben Parfitt in the Georgia Straight.)

"The ’70s and ’80s were a time of excess and frenzy on this coast, when tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of salmon could be hauled from a single net, and the hewing of trees worth $20,000 each was not uncommon," Kirby notes in the New York Times. "While the Haida engaged in a decade of fruitless committee meetings, negotiations and court cases, clearcutting crept relentlessly southward."

He also describes an encounter with the legendary former president of the Haida Nation, Guujaaw, who worked tirelessly to stop the pillaging of his traditional territory.

The story culminates with a potlatch and the raising of a pole.

Former chief Miles Richardson—also a former chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission—closes with this comment: "There will be no logging in Gwaii Haanas anymore."

The story indicates the magnitude of the changes since the Lyell Island antilogging protests of the mid 1980s, in which numerous Haida and their allies, including then-MP Svend Robinson, were arrested.

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