Walters Cove resort, a popular fishing lodge in Kyuquot Sound. (Photo gallery/Walters Cove Resort)

Isolated B.C. First Nation seeks further seclusion in response to COVID-19

Accessible only by air or water, no one can get in or out of Kyuquot without First Nation’s permission

Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Kyuquot is often called a “hidden gem.”

And the village has been trying to remain even more hidden since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Cynthia Blackstone, chief administrative officer of Kyuquot/Checleseht First Nations said that they prefer to fly under the radar for the time being and avoid any unsolicited visitors.

“We’re trying not to draw too much attention towards us right now,” said Blackstone.

The struggle to dissuade people is real, as Kyuquot is seen as an ideal place for an “isolation” break.

“People see how beautiful and isolated Kyuquot is and they want to come here for isolation,” said Blackstone as she explained the challenge of having to turn away all visitors after the outbreak of COVID-19.

Now the community has taken to constant vigilance to keep outsiders away. The geographical location of Kyuquot helps with reinforcing restricted travel.

Accessible only by air or water, the First Nation has issued directives to floatplane and water taxi operators that they are required to obtain permission from Kyuquot before they bring people in or out.

“We’re turning away all visitors,” said Blackstone and added that the nature of COVID-19 makes it difficult to determine who might be a virus carrier.

Kyuquot has also taken to monitoring the traffic on the water.

”The neighbouring First Nation has a 24-hour monitoring system in place too. We get to benefit from that as well.”

Travel restrictions have been imposed on community members for safety and Blackstone says that this is often a “challenge” as people want to be able to get their shopping done.

“The community relies on self sufficiency and food security back at home and when needed, groceries are also ordered online and delivered by boat or air.”

Kyuquot is known for its scenic location on the Pacific coast, six provincial parks, four ecological reserves and fishing activities among others.

The community’s tourism-based economy has taken a hit, with the First Nation-owned Walters Cove resort along with a number of fishing lodges in the area having to shut.

While Kyuquot welcomes the seclusion, they rely on the internet to be virtually connected. However, weak internet connectivity is a challenge that they continue to face everyday, said Blackstone.

At the same time, the community and educators also battle with the challenges of virtual education. Shifting the classroom online has its own struggles with getting children to focus, said Blackstone.

Despite everything, Blackstone said that the community also welcomed the positive changes that came along with the pandemic.

“Families are getting to spend more time together than ever.”

RELATED: Gold River mail flight connects remote west coast communities with supplies

RELATED: Tahsis ‘all in’ on social distancing, so village asks you to stay out

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Ucluelet fire crew extinguishes residential blaze

Ucluelet’s fire chief is praising his crew for making short work of a residential blaze on Tuesday.

DFO reports unusually high whale mortalities in 2020

“It’s so important to have all these eyes and ears in the community reporting these deaths.”

Tofino housing project criticized at public hearing

Town’s council hosts first public hearing since start of COVID-19 pandemic.

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read