Haida Gwaii basking in media attention

There is increasing media interest in the islands, says Haida Gwaii Tourism Association president Andrew Merilees, with articles appearing last year in magazines like Sunset, Western Living and Canadian Surfer, and newspapers like the Washington Post and the Edmonton Journal.
Mr. Merilees told members at the group's annual general meeting Sunday (May 25) in Tlell that the tourism association helped out with nine tours for travel writers over the past year, arranged through the group's partnerships with the Northern BC Tourism Association and a public relations company in Victoria.
A lot of great publicity for the islands was also generated by the "Raid the North Extreme" race which relocated here at the last minute when Rupert and Terrace were threatened by spring flooding in June, Mr. Merilees said. The adventure race started from the new Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate and proceeded all through the islands by kayak, foot and bicycle. The race was televised on Global and is being periodically rebroadcast, he said.
Other highlights from last year were that the tourism association got a grant from the Skeena-Queen Charlotte regional district to have a consumer show backdrop made. Mr. Merilees and secretary Kimiko von Boetticher brought the new backdrop to the annual general meeting and set it up in just seven minutes. It features a background photo of forest and totem poles, with smaller photos of beaches and a map of the islands.
Mr. Merilees said the display will be taken to consumer shows and can also be used by any local groups attending off-island functions.
Members acclaimed Mr. Merilees as president of the tourism association for another year, although he said he would like this year to be his last one as president. Several members thanked him for all the volunteer time he has put into the association. The group nominated Jason Alsop of Skidegate as vice-president, but the position will have to be confirmed later as Mr. Alsop was not at the meeting. Lisa Escott of Masset was acclaimed as the group's new treasurer, and Ms von Boetticher was acclaimed as secretary for another year.
Members acclaimed three directors: Cacilia Honisch for Tlell, Natalie Fournier for Skidegate, and Margaret Bonneau for Queen Charlotte. There are four other director positions available for Old Massett, Masset, Port Clements and Sandspit.