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Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park
About This Park
This park encompasses the southern portion of Bligh Island, Villaverde Islands, Pantoja Islands, Verdia Island, Vernaci Island and Spouter Island in Nootka Sound. This area is a very popular recreational destination for anglers, boaters and kayakers, who paddle amongst the many scenic islands in the Spanish Pilot Group.
Bligh Island contains mature coastal forests and marine ecosystems and offers sheltered anchorage with deep bays in the lee of numerous forested islands.
Nootka Sound has a colourful history with First Nations heritage and European exploration and settlement. First Nation peoples have occupied Nootka Sound for at least 4,000 years, enjoying the area’s bountiful natural resources. The park is rich in archeological sites. Bligh Island is named for Captain Bligh, the British Navy captain who sailed here with Captain James Cook in 1778. Resolute Cove on Bligh Island is named after Captain Cook’s ship; a cairn on the southeast cove of the island commemorates their landing. The area subsequently became a major centre for international fur trading.
Beautiful Bligh Island offers rustic beach camping in a user-maintained area on Charlie’s Beach. This site has a pit toilet. Numerous other undeveloped wilderness sites can be found in the Spanish Pilot Group of Islands, however no facilities are provided in these areas.
Know Before You Go
- Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
- Boaters can reference marine chart #3675 for more information on this area. This park does not have a boat launch. The closest boat launches are Cougar Creek, Tuta Marina and Gold River.
Bligh Island is located in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Access to the park is by boat only. Closest boat launches are at Cougar Creek, Tuta Marina and Gold River. Boaters can reference marine chart #3675 for more details on this area.
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- History - Nootka Sound has a colourful history with First Nations heritage and European exploration and settlement. First Nation peoples have occupied Nootka Sound for at least 4,000 years, enjoying the area’s bountiful natural resources. The park is rich in archeological sites. The park is also significant for the beginning of British Columbia’s post-contact history. Bligh Island is named for Captain Bligh, the British Navy captain who sailed here with Captain James Cook in 1778. Captain Cook first took his ships into a small cove on Bligh Island after a storm for repairs. While anchored in the cove – which he named Resolution Cove after his flagship – he made formal contact with natives in the village at Yuquot, or Friendly Cove. The area subsequently became a major center for international fur trading. Today, Yuquot is a National Historic Site.
- Cultural Heritage - Resolution Cove on Bligh Island is named after Captain James Cook’s ship, which brought him to Bligh Island in 1778. The area became a major centre for international fur trading. The park contains known archaeological sites.
- Wildlife - Visitors to Bligh island and Nootka Sound are likely to spot a variety of marine life, including Grey whales, killer whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters, as well as waterfowl, Bald eagles, black bears, wolves and deer.
Activities Available at this Park
The protected waters of the Spanish Pilot Group make for excellent paddling opportunities. Bligh Island is a popular destination for paddlers, who are likely to catch glimpses of a variety of marine mammals and waterfowl as they make their way through Nootka Sound. Paddlers can set in at boat launches in Nootka Sound; Tuta Marina and Cougar Creek are the most accessible boat launches for paddlers.
Kayakers wishing to explore this remote region can book space for themselves and their kayak aboard the MV Uchuck lll, departing from Gold River and Tahsis. The vessel will unload kayakers into the scenic area of Catala Island en route to its scheduled stop at Kyuquot in Kyuquot Sound.
A kayak operator on Bligh Island outside of the park offers rentals, tours and accommodations. A number of commercial kayak operators in the area and on Vancouver Island also offer services to the park.
Nootka Sound is one of the more popular salt-water sports fishing destinations on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Bligh Island offers anglers protected waters and beaches, and the opportunity to catch Chinook, coho, chum and pink salmon, and a variety of rockfish. Numerous float lodges and camps in Nootka Sound offer fishing opportunities as well. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Portions of this park are open to hunting for specific species. Hunters must have valid licences and tags. Please refer to the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis publication for closures and regulations.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be under control at all times. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
The waters of Nootka Sound offer excellent cold water scuba diving opportunities.
Visitors to Bligh Island and Nootka Sound are likely to spot a variety of marine life, including Grey whales, killer whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters, as well as waterfowl, Bald eagles, black bears, wolves and deer. Bligh Island also features a windswept west coast rainforest, with old-growth Douglas fir, Western hemlock, Western red cedar and Sitka spruce.
Facilities Available at this Park
While small fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. If you do have a fire, please utilize previously constructed fire rings and use small pieces of wood that will burn completely. If you can't find a previously used site, try to construct your fire rings below the high tide mark. Never leave your fire unattended and practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.
Pit or Flush Toilets
This park has one pit toilet located at Charlie's Beach.
Wilderness or backcountry camping is allowed. There is one user maintained camping area at Charlie's Beach on Bligh Island, opposite Clotchman Island. Facilities include a pit toilet and open camping sites.
There are numerous other undeveloped wilderness sites in the Spanish Pilot Group of Islands. No facilities are provided in these areas and no fee is charged. Please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.