About This Conservancy
The Koeye conservancy is a largely undisturbed, outer coastal watershed containing two medium sized freshwater lakes, a diverse estuary, expansive wetlands and productive temperate old growth rainforests. Situated in Fitz Hugh Sound, the Koeye encompasses close to 19,000 hectares and supports a provincially significant grizzly/salmon ecosystem. This biologically rich area offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, making it a favourite stopover for kayakers and boaters. The Koeye Conservancy offers ample fishing opportunities for Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, and Sockeye salmon as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. The mouth of the Koeye is a boat haven and is an important area used by boats and ships in poor weather.
The Koeye Conservancy is located within the Wuikinuxv First Nation traditional territory and is co-managed under an agreement between the Wuikinuxv Nation and the Province of British Columbia. This co-operative management agreement will allow the Wuikinuxv Nation to access land and resources for their use within the Koeye while achieving conservation and recreation objectives for the area.
Location and Maps
The Koeye Conservancy is located on the east side of Fitz Hugh Sound near the confluence with Burke Channel, 45km southeast of Bella Bella and 115km north of Port Hardy. Directly west across Fitz Hugh Sound from the conservancy is Hakai Pass located within Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy. The Koeye can only be accessed by boat or air.
Nature and Culture
- History – Historically, the Koeye River system was used as a water route that connected, via an overland portage, with the Nootum River thereby allowing access to this freshwater drainage system for peoples inhabiting the Bella Coola region.
- Cultural Heritage – The Koeye Conservancy is situated in Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk and Nuxalk First Nations’ traditional territories. In Heiltsuk, the word Koeye means “sitting on water”. Numerous important archaeological sites and features are found in the Koeye including four village sites, fish traps, culturally modified trees and subsurface shell middens.
- Conservation – The primary role of the Koeye Conservancy is to protect representative forests, coastal features and cultural heritage values of the Hectate Lowland ecosection (HEL), an under-represented ecosection within the Province’s protected area system. The Koeye is the only protected area in the HEL with low elevation, highly productive temperate rainforests, provincially significant grizzly/salmon ecosystems and a very productive estuary with red and blue listed species and high biological diversity. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans considers the Koeye a class 1 river for habitat protection purposes.
- Wildlife – Excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing can be found in the Koeye, due to its high biological diversity. Species inhabiting the Koeye include grizzly bear, black bear, wolf, deer, cougar, mountain goat, wolverine, river otter and many species of fish including rainbow and cutthroat trout, steelhead, and five species of salmon. Western grebe, trumpeter swans, and marbled murrelets are several rare and endangered waterfowl species which use the highly productive estuary and marine component of the Koeye.
- General Wildlife, Marine & Outdoor Ethics Information
Activities Available at this Conservancy
Koeye Conservancy is a favorite stopover for kayakers exploring Fitz Hugh Sound.
This area is a popular sport fishing destination. Opportunities for fishing five species of salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout exist. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
For your own safety and the preservation of the conservancy, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
There are no developed trails at this conservancy.
The conservancy is open to hunting. Please refer to the BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis for more information.
Swimming is not recommended here, because the water is cold and can be rough. There are no lifeguards on duty within the conservancy.
Facilities Available at this Conservancy
Please Conserve Firewood.
Campfires are allowed but firewood is not provided. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking. If you must have a fire, please burn only dead and down wood, and be sure to extinguish the fire fully. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil so please use it conservatively, if at all. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small.
Wilderness camping is allowed; no facilities are provided.