Thunderbird’s Nest/T’iitsk’in Paawats Protected Area was established in the spring of 2011 as a result of obligations detailed in the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement. This protected area protects T’iitsk’in Paawats which is a sacred and spiritual place for the Uchucklesaht Tribe and the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.
T’iitsk’in Paawats translates to “Thunderbird’s Nest” and is where the last remaining Thunderbird lives. Thunderbirds are creatures of tremendous importance to the Uchucklesaht Tribe and Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. They control the rain and thunderstorms and they are connected to whales, whaling and whaling power. The protected area is a natural place of old growth forests without any permanent structures.
The T’iitsk’in Paawats is made up of creeks, bathing pools, waterfalls, archaeological sites and five named mountains ( Tuutuuchpiika – ‘Thunder Mountain/Eldest Brother’, Titskakuulth - ‘Thunder Face Mountain’, Uusajuu-is – ‘Ritual Bathing Mountain’, Uu-aatsuu - ‘Second Eldest Brother Mountain’ and Kalthaatik – ‘Youngest Brother Mountain’).
The spiritual sites within the T’iitski’in Paawats are places that Uchucklesaht people go to ‘osimich’, a process crucial to the proper preparation for persons seeking to cleanse themselves spiritually.
Wilderness camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. Please practice “ Leave No Trace” camping ethics. This protected area is accessible year-round.
Anyone planning to hike into the protected area is asked to get updated information about the area and access by contacting Uchucklesaht Tribe at 250 724-1832.
The protected area can be accessed by canoe or kayak from Thunderbird Beach across Henderson Lake from the Elbow Beach Boat Launch.
Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate license. Various species of trout and salmon can be found in the waters of Henderson Lake. Fishing is permitted as per provincial and federal fishing regulations.
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia. Bicycles can be used to access the protected area from Silverside following an old logging road.
Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within Thunderbird’s Nest (T’iitsk’in Paawats) Protected Area. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy will be for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.
Thunderbird’s Nest/T’iitsk’in Paawats Protected Area is located on the western shore of Henderson Lake near the mouth of Uchucklesaht Inlet on the Alberni Inlet approximately 38 kilometers southwest of the Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
Access to this remote Thunderbird’s Nest/T’iitsk’in Paawats Protected Area is currently by several options which includes by road, water, foot, and/or bicycle.
For more information on accessing Thunderbird’s Nest/T’iitsk’in Paawats Protected Area, please contact Uchucklesaht Tribe at 250 724-1832.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.