Photo Credit: Calvin Falls |

Pay to Play In Mowachaht/Muchalaht Territory

Nowadays hundreds of people travel to Yuquot to hike the Nootka Trail

The Mowachaht/Muchalaht now charge a fee to hike the Nootka Trail.

The Nootka Trail is a popular northern Vancouver Island coastal hike.

It skirts the outer coast of Nootka Island for 37 km between Yuquot in the south and Tongue Point in the north.

Along the way, it passes through epic beaches, windswept headlands, and the traditional territories of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and the Nuchatlaht First Nation.

Two years ago, the Mowachaht/Muchalaht began charging a fee to hike the trail.

Now the nation has asked the provincial government to hand over control of the Nootka Trail and two other popular recreation sites in their territory, Muchalaht Lake and Cougar Creek.

It’s part of a broader vision to develop tourism, jobs and opportunities for the nation, according to Azar Kamran, band administrator and CEO of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation.

“We’re just waiting for confirmation from the government. The handover should have happened in 2022,” Kamran told

He said understaffing at Recreation Sites, and Trails BC could be causing the delay.

A request for an interview with Recreation Sites and Trails BC went unanswered.

Besides a few outhouses, the Nootka Trail is currently unregulated and mostly unmaintained.

There is no cap on the number of people who can hike it at any one time. Toilets at many of the campsites are in disrepair, and the trail needs maintenance work.

“Right now, we don’t control the trail, so we’re not sure how many people are hiking it,” Kamran said.

According to Kamran, the nation may have to consider regulating the number of Nootka Trail hikers to prevent overuse.

“This is our traditional territory, and we’re asking people to be respectful of nature and leave it better than they find it,” Kamran said.

The area hosted an important event in BC history. In 1778, the great Chief Maquinna met Captain James Cook when the British explorer dropped anchor at Yuquot.

The Mowchaht/Muchalaht First Nation is also in the process of buying the Gold River Chalet. It’s another important piece of the nation’s tourism plans, Kamran said.


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