Háthayim was named Von Donop Inlet by Captain Daniel Pender of the Royal Navy, who conducted extensive hydrographic surveys in the area from 1860 until 1879. The name commemorates Victor Edward John Breton Von Donop, RN. Von Donop, a midshipman, arrived aboard HMS Charybis at Esquimalt in 1862. Charybis, a ship of 21 guns, had been dispatched to Canada from China at the time of the American Civil War when it seemed possible that hostilities might break out between Great Britain and the United States. Since it was first surveyed, this quiet inlet has contributed to the economy of British Columbia. Evidence of past logging and settlement is inconspicuous, as much of the area is being reclaimed by nature.
Lush forests of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar with scattered patches of Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine, big-leaf maple and red alder that characterize the southern British Columbia coast are well represented around Von Donop Inlet. The old-growth and second growth forests between the inlet, Robertson Lake and Wiley Lakes are part of the area’s mosaic. Undergrowth, in the form of red huckleberry, salal, Oregon grape and flowering plants as well as shade-tolerant ferns contributes to this forest’s natural diversity.
The park is home to flying squirrels and Douglas squirrels, as well as river otter and mink. Harbour seals are often seen in the inlet, and during the winter months, Steller’s and California sea lions are present. Killer whales occasionally pass through Sutil Channel, but rarely enter the inlet. Háthayim contains excellent shellfish, including butter clams and littleneck clams. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) may be present from May through August. Please check with the Department of Fisheries inCampbell River for recent information on harvesting and PSP regulations.
Other forms of sea life present include jellyfish, sea sponges, cucumbers, octopus and turnicates. Nearby waters are noted for salmon and rockfish. Seabird populations increase during the winter months in the park. During spring and summer, visitors can hear the calls of varied thrush and Swainson’s thrush, a variety of flycatchers as well as yellow-rumped townsend’s and black-throated grey warblers. Bald eagles are often seen soaring above the inlet.