Maquinna Marine Provincial Park re-opens with new access conditions and plans for the future
The Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) on behalf of the Ahousaht First Nation, and BC Parks are welcoming visitors back to the Maquinna Marine Park (the “Park”) and hot springs after a lengthy closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The re-opening is accompanied by improved facilities and new access conditions to enhance the visitor experience, to uphold the ecological and Indigenous cultural values and uses of the area.
The Maquinna Marine Provincial Park and its natural assets are in Ahousaht territories (the “hahoulthee”) and the traditional home of the Manhousaht people. Between 28,000 to 32,000 people visit the Park and hot springs each year.
Historically marginalized from the Clayoquot Sound economy, the Ahousaht are taking steps to assert control over their lands to provide economic benefits, environmental and cultural protections to the Ahousaht people. The Ahousaht have been pleased to be working collaboratively with BC Parks on efforts to re-open and manage the Maquinna Marine Provincial Park and are working together to develop a new visitor use management plan for the Park that carefully considers ecological values, Indigenous cultural values and uses, visitor experiences, facilities, and infrastructure. MHSS and BC Parks are also working together to rename the Park, out of respect for the Ahousaht hereditary Chiefs (the “Hawiih”).
Interim measures and access conditions to address overcrowding at the hot springs are being piloted as part of the re-opening. Visitors are encouraged to book their trip to the hot springs with operators who have valid BC Park Use Permits to ensure visitor management strategies are being followed.
Coinciding with the re-opening of Maquinna Park, MHSS is introducing the Ahousaht Stewardship Fund, which was established as a way for visitors to Ahousaht hahoulthee to financially support the work of the Hawiih and their ancestral responsibilities to steward Ahousaht lands and waters. The Ahousaht Stewardship Fund supports the capacity of the MHSS in its work, including: marine risk management and monitoring, restoration and fisheries enhancement, park use operations, cultural tourism and youth programs, community food security and economic diversification, building and maintaining trails and other infrastructure throughout the hahoulthee.
The Ahousaht Stewardship Fund is voluntary. The rate schedule has been created as a suggestion. We encourage all visitors to pay a voluntary Ahousaht Stewardship Fee when visiting Ahousaht hahoulthee, to support Ahousaht in continuing our ancestral responsibility to steward and monitor the lands and waters that support our people.
The recommended payment for individuals, families, school groups and non-profits visiting the hot springs at the Maquinna Marine Provincial Park is $15/pp/visit, in addition to the $15pp/day hahoulthee access fee. For those spending time in Ahousaht hahoulthee regularly, you can purchase a voluntary annual access pass for $25pp/year. The annual access pass does not include access to the hot springs at Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. Voluntary day passes to the hot springs at Maquinna Marine Provincial Park can be purchased for $15pp/day. You can find more information at https://mhssahousaht.ca/stewardship-fee/.
If individuals choose not to pay the voluntary Ahousaht Stewardship Fee, a $3/pp BC Parks day use fee still applies. The voluntary Ahousaht Stewardship Fee includes the $3/pp BC Parks Day use fee.
All fees can be paid to MHSS as the Park Operator on their website, or in person at the MHSS office in Tofino.