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Khutzeymateen Provincial Park [a.k.a. Khutzeymateen/K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Sanctuary], Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy, Khutzeymateen Inlet West Conservancy
About This Park
K’tzim-a-deen is the “Valley at the Head of the Inlet” (Coast Tsimshian)
The Khutzeymateen Provincial Park [a.k.a. Khutzeymateen/K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary] was established as a Class A Park in 1994 as the first area in Canada to be protected specifically for grizzly bears and their habitat. Class A parks are dedicated to the preservation of their natural environments for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public.
The park represents the first undisturbed estuary of its size to be protected along the north coast of BC. The topography of this land and marine sanctuary is diverse, with rugged peaks towering to 2100 metres above a valley of wetlands, old growth temperate rainforests and a large river estuary. An abundance of wildlife shares the area.
The Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy was established in 2008 to further enhance and ensure protection of key grizzly bear intertidal and foreshore habitats throughout the inlet. A conservancy is set aside for four reasons:
- The protection and maintenance of their biological diversity and natural environments;
- The preservation and maintenance of social, ceremonial and cultural uses of First Nations;
- The protection and maintenance of their recreational values; and,
- To ensure that development or use of their natural resources occurs in a sustainable manner consistent with the purposes of paragraphs (a), (b) and (c).
The Khutzeymateen group of protected areas continues to play a key role in the conservation of grizzly bears in North America by protecting a large part of the ecosystem in which they live. Grizzly bears depend on a healthy and fully functioning ecosystem which supports a variety of animals and fish.
Coast Tsimshian First Nations depend upon this area, as they have for thousands of years, as the source of their social, economic and cultural prosperity. Coast Tsimshian continue to conduct traditional activities in the K’tzim-a-deen and provide public education to explain their relationship to the area.
The area continues to offer incredible opportunities to view grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Human use of the area focuses on bear viewing, natural and cultural education, and traditional activities. The K'tzim-a-deen protected areas play an important role in British Columbia’s protected areas system. The protected areas are known internationally as Canada’s first Grizzly Bear sanctuary and are home to one of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears in Canada.
BC Parks, the Coast Tsimshian First Nations, and the Gitsi’is Tribe collaboratively manage the protected areas.
Khutzeymateen Protected Areas Commercial Bear Viewing Partnership
BC Parks, Lax Kw’alaams and Commercial Bear Viewing Guides have developed a collaborative Partnership that ensures the Khutzeymateen Protected Areas continue to be managed proactively and public access monitored conservatively to ensure the Grizzly Bears and their habitats are the first priority.
The bear viewing guides contribute a per person donation to the Khutzeymateen Park Enhancement Fund that collectively supports shared stewardship initiatives for Khutzeymateen Protected Areas including:
- the K’tzim-a-deen Visitor Centre and interpretation services;
- natural and cultural resource monitoring and research; and to
- ensure visitors to the Khutzeymateen Protected Areas receive an orientation on responsible bear viewing techniques.
- Businesses that are permitted by BC Parks to guide within Khutzeymateen Protected Area’s [PDF]
Khutzeymateen Park Enhancement Fund
You can help support the protection and management of grizzly bears and this unique partnership by donating to the Khutzeymateen Park Enhancement Fund. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please contact BC Parks at: email@example.com to discuss what kind of legacy you can leave for future generations.
Khutzeymateen Park Giftware and Souvenirs
Show your support and appreciation for Khutzeymateen Park by purchasing special edition posters, t-shirts, post cards, framed matted postcards and iron-on patches!
Step 1: Choose your merchandise:
- $40 – T-shirts in white, cream, light blue – bamboo t-shirt colour options; limited sizing
- $40 – T-shirts in light gray, charcoal gray, sapphire blue, black – cotton or cotton/poly blend – Sizes S to XXL
- $40 – Posters in two size options – 18x24” or 16x22”
- $5 – Postcard
- $30 – Framed matted postcards
- $10 – Khutzeymateen Iron-on Patches
Prices above include tax and shipping.
Check with Lorraine.Kerbrat@gov.bc.ca for availability of t-shirts prior to payment as they are limited in sizes and colors.
Step 2: Make your payment:
- Visit our online payment system via the donation page Khutzeymateen merchandise payment link
- Send your list of purchased merchandise (including t-shirt size and colour if applicable), and proof of payment/donation to Lorraine.Kerbrat@gov.bc.ca who will send your items to you.
Proceeds from merchandise purchases assist Khutzeymateen Park. Thank you for your support!
Know Before You Go
- Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
- Visitors using the inlet as an overnight anchorage should be aware of tidal fluctuations, particularly near the estuary, where water depths can vary considerably. High winds are also frequent in this area.
- All guided tours must be with a permitted guide.
- When you arrive in the Khutzeymateen Inlet, all visitors are required to check in at the K’tzim-a-deen Ranger Station in the inlet.
- Grizzly Bear Viewing Best Practices [PDF 1.95MB] (bookmarked to page 42 of the Khutzeymateen Protected Areas Management Plan)
Sanctuary Hazards & Special Regulation
- Boaters entering the sanctuary should keep to the centre of the inlet to avoid disturbing bears. All visitors must register at the K’tzim-a-deen Ranger Station upon entering the sanctuary. An interpretive centre is located at the ranger station and is open to the public.
- You can contact the Ranger Station on Marine VHF channel 18 U.S.
- Land access is prohibited within the Park.
- Unguided public access to the river estuary is not permitted.
- The hunting of grizzly bear is prohibited and hunting of other wildlife is restricted to areas above 1000 metres elevation. Please check the BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis for more information.
This park is located 45 km northeast of Prince Rupert. The Khutzeymateen is accessible by marine transportation, only. The closest communities, towns and cities are Lax Kw’alaams, Kincolith, Port Edward, and Prince Rupert.
Nature and Culture
Cultural Heritage: The area is located within the traditional territories of the Coast Tsimshian (Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams First Nations) who have occupied the area since time immemorial. Specifically, the area is within the traditional territory of the Gitsi’is. The Gitsi’is (people of the seal trap) are one of nine Allied Tsimshian Tribes that make up the Coast Tsimshian First Nations. The Khutzeymateen protected areas are an intensive traditional use area within the territory of the Coast Tsimshian First Nations and have been used since time immemorial for cultural, social and economic purposes.
The Khutzeymateen protects these important traditional harvesting resources, wildlife and biological diversity, and sustains traditional use opportunities.
Conservation: The topography of this land and marine sanctuary is diverse, with rugged peaks towering to 2100 metres above a valley of wetlands, old growth temperate rainforests and a large estuary.
The Khutzeymateen protected areas are closed to the harvest of Grizzly Bears. In addition, the lands adjacent to the protected areas are also closed to Grizzly Bear harvest as part of the Nass-Skeena Grizzly Bear No Hunting Area7.
Wildlife: The ultimate purpose of this area is to protect the north coast grizzly bear by the ecosystems in which they live. These protected areas include an entire intact coastal watershed (Khutzeymateen-Kateen Rivers) and much of the land surrounding a fjord that contains a very high density of Grizzly Bears, with over 50 individual bears seen in one season. Such abundance is due to the high quality Grizzly Bear habitat in the area consisting of forbs and sedges (Lyngby’s sedge) and Pacific Salmon spawning streams. Features associated with the bears include bear mark trails, rubbing trees and wallows.
- Management Planning Information
Khutzeymateen Protected Areas Management Plan [PDF 1.95MB]
The management plan for Khutzeymateen Provincial Park [a.k.a. Khutzeymateen/K’tsim-a-deen Grizzly Sanctuary] was approved in December 2011.
Activities Available at this Park
There is an interpretive centre located at the guardian station. The centre is open to the public May through mid-September.
There is no viewing platform but water-based bear and wildlife viewing is excellent at river estuaries throughout the inlet.