The BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund was created to help Indigenous tourism businesses get back on their feet after COVID-19. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations got $510,340 that will go towards building 30 new campsites at their Pachena Bay Campground in Bamfield.
There are 70 campsites at the campground now. After the new ones are built there will be 100. Some of the money will also be used to upgrade the bathrooms and showers.
“This was definitely an economic growth opportunity,” Huu-ay-aht Councillor Trevor Cootes told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “The more campsites will create more revenue and create more job opportunities.”
Pachena Bay is one of the oldest campgrounds in the region. “Our campground was actually closed last year for the first time in decades. Our Bamfield businesses that we own, the accommodations, food services, general store were all massively impacted,” Cootes said. “We were okay with one season, we could survive.”
Pachena Bay campground opened on July 1. Guided tours of Kiixin, an ancient Huu-ay-aht village site, start July 3.
Thousands of campers visit Pachena Bay in a normal summer. The Huu-ay-aht recently put in a new access road so tourists won’t need to drive through the Village of Anacla anymore.
Having two roads to the campground is also important for emergencies. If there is a tsunami warning, campers and workers have two ways to get to safety.