‘We know how to win’: how a Haida nature reserve became a model for the world

Thirty years ago, when the people of Haida Gwaii blockaded logging roads in British Columbia, few foresaw the result – the remarkable Gwaii Haanas agreement that has reshaped how to manage contested areas

On summer days, Haley and Samantha Garvie hop barefoot between barnacle-crusted black rocks, scouting for tiny crabs and periwinkle shells. Depending on the tides, they might even spot colourful glass fishing floats – a rare treat carried by ocean currents to the southern tip of Haida Gwaii all the way from Japan, more than 4,000 miles away. In the evenings, they join their mother, Grace, and older sister, Joey, treading the paths their ancestors once walked, gathering the same berries and listening to the same birds.

“There’s always so much to learn here, like the path of the kingfisher or the way the oystercatchers chase off hawks,” says Grace, a member of the Haida Watchmen programme, tasked with guarding a string of historic sites.

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