On This Page
Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park
About This Park
Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park is made up of a number of islands of the Pearse and Plumper groups of islands, situated at the western end of Johnstone Strait in between Hanson Island and Cormorant Island (Alert Bay). This marine-access park offers safe overnight anchorages for boaters traveling these waters.
Cormorant Channel is part of the core habitat of the northern resident Orca (killer whale) population. As such, it is one of the best places in the world to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
In addition to whale watching and wildlife viewing, these undeveloped islands provide visitors with a number of recreational opportunities, including boating and kayaking. Cormorant Channel is part of the extremely popular Johnstone Strait sea kayaking circuit, and paddlers can easily find places to haul out and camp for the night among the many islands. The park also provides world class saltwater fishing and scuba diving in the wildlife-rich tidal channels.
Know Before You Go
- Bring your own drinking water, as potable water is not available in the park.
- Boaters should be prepared for strong tidal currents and the possibility of dense fog. High wind and seas can be expected at any time of the year. Boaters should ensure they carry current tide tables and the correct nautical charts.
Accessible by boat only, Cormorant Channel is located 2 nautical miles due north of Telegraph Cove, on northern Vancouver Island. Boat launches are available at Telegraph Cove, Alder Bay, Beaver Harbour, Port McNeill and Alert Bay. Boaters can reference marine chart #3546 (Broughton Strait) for more information on this area.
Nearby Communities: Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Telegraph Cove, Alert Bay, Sointula.
Nature and Culture
- Cultural Heritage: Cormorant Channel is within the core area of the Kwakwaka’wakw speaking peoples, and in particular the ‘Namgis First Nation.
- Wildlife (specific to this park or area): Cormorant Channel is part of the core habitat of the northern resident Orca (killer whale) population and is one of the best places in the world to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. In addition to Orcas, visitors can often see Humpback and Minke whales, Harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises and Pacific white-sided dolphins. Seals and sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks is a common sight. Bald eagles, Great Blue herons, Harlequin ducks and other waterfowl, such as Rhinoceros Auklets, also can be found in the park. Occasionally, black bears and cougars can be spotted as well.
Activities Available at this Park
Sea kayaking is very popular in the boundaries of Cormorant Channel, which is part of the extremely popular Johnstone Strait sea kayaking circuit. Paddlers in the park have outstanding opportunities for whale watching and marine mammal viewing. This park also provides a corridor between Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound.
There are several good camping areas for kayakers wanting to camp overnight in Cormorant Channel; most of these are in the Pearse Islands in the western part of the park.
A number of commercial companies in Telegraph Cove, Alder Bay, Port McNeill and Port Hardy offers kayak and canoe rentals.
The salt water fishing around Cormorant Channel is excellent and includes all species of salmon as well as halibut and rockfish, however a year-round rockfish closure is in place around Stubbs Island. Fishing is best during the summer months. A number of professional charter companies and/or fishing lodges are available for guiding in the area.
Rockfish Conservation Areas occur within this park. Fishing activities are limited in Rockfish Conservation Areas. Before you go fishing please refer to the Rockfish Conservation Area descriptions available from Fisheries and Oceans Canada DFO. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
The wildlife-rich waters of Cormorant Channel offer world class scuba diving opportunities. Rentals and tours can be found from dive shops in Port Hardy and Port McNeill.
Ocean swimming. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. No designated swimming areas.
Cormorant Channel is part of the core habitat of the northern resident Orca (killer whale) population. As such, it is one of the best places in the world to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. A number of whale watching companies in the area offer tours into Cormorant Channel.
Facilities Available at this Park
While fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. If you must use a campfire, please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.
There are several wilderness campsites in Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park, accessible by kayak or boat, however no facilities are provided.