Bears, eagles, ravens and thunderbirds stare down from weathered poles lining the beach at SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Welcoming visitors to five sacred island sites like this are Watchmen, on-site guardians who share their knowledge of traditional culture. Bringing their ancestors’ villages to life, they point out century-old log remains of enormous, multi-tiered longhouses dug into the earth at T’aanuu Llnagaay (Tanu), K’uuna Llnagaay (Skedans), SGang Gwaay (Anthony Island), Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island), and Hlk'yah GawGa (Windy Bay).

Haida culture is everywhere - the rainforest reveals bark-stripped cedar trees and partially carved canoes . A Legacy Pole was raised in 2013 on Lyell Island, site of 1985 logging protests that eventually protected this region as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

It honours 20 years of cooperative management by the federal government and the Haida Nation of a landscape that offers a rare window into 12,000 years of human habitation.