Whyac, Nitinat Narrows

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Whyac, Nitinat Narrows

by | Feb 14, 2021

Nitinat Narrows is a tidal channel about 1.9 miles (3 km) long that drains Nitinat Lake into the Pacific Ocean just north of the Pacific entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of Port Renfrew and 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Bamfield, British Columbia. The channel is navigable by small boats, although dangerous tidal bores, sand bars, and reefs occur. The historical Ditidaht First Nation village of Waayaa or Whyac lies on the southern shore beside Nitinat Narrows and just north of Clo-oose.

The Ditidaht is a First Nation with a traditional territory on southwestern Vancouver Island and several historical village sites on the coast that became part of the Pacific Rim National Park in 1973. The park is 126,080 acres (51,023 ha) that represents the Pacific Coast Mountain landscape, which is characterized by rugged coasts and temperate rainforests. The park comprises three separate regions including Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail.

The West Coast Trail passes through the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations who have inhabited the area for more than 4,000 years. Native trails, used for trade and travel, existed in the area before European settlement. In the 1800s, Europeans began to use the area to build and maintain a telegraph line between Victoria and Cape Beale. More ships began to travel along the west coast of Vancouver Island, particularly between San Francisco and Alaska, and the reefs and breakers off the coast posed a serious danger to navigation. The West Coast Trail was originally called the Dominion Lifesaving Trail built in 1907 to allow shipwreck survivors and rescuers to travel through the forest making use of the telegraph line and cabins. In 1973 the trail became part of Pacific Rim National Park and is now a backpacking trail that follows the coast for 47 miles (75 km) and is considered one of the world’s best hiking trails. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nitinat Narrows here:

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