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

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Woman who talked to unconscious husband, a Victoria police officer, for 30 years focus of study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Most Read