Eagle Photo SimonSees.com
Zeballos’ position in North Vancouver Island relative to nearby Nootka Sound and Kyuquot Sound makes it a popular “jump-off” point for tourists and anglers. The protected waters of Zeballos Inlet offer a multitude of saltwater fishing opportunities within close proximity. The Zeballos and Kaouk Rivers also offer fly fishermen fine runs of steelhead, cut-throat, and rainbow trout. Ocean kayaking is a favourite as visitors explore the many inlets and beaches along the coast. Surfing, scuba diving and hiking are popular. Shady boardwalks and walking trails wind through the Zeballos River estuary and along the river, providing visitors with a perfect opportunity to enjoy the native plants and wildlife of the rainforest. It is also a designated Wetland Reserve with hundreds of birds from hummingbirds to eagles making this there home in the summer months.
Zeballos is a deep-sea port surrounded by rugged mountains and forests, located on the Zeballos River delta, at the end of Zeballos Inlet. It is accessible by Highway 19, 190 km (118 mi) northwest of Campbell River and 86 km (53 mi) southwest of Port McNeill.
Named for Lt. Ciriaco Cevallos, a member aboard an early ship of Spanish explorers, Zeballos remained relatively obscure until the gold rush in the 1930s. Although estimates vary, it may have had a population of over 5,000 during the peak of mining activity. Between 1938 and 1943, $13 million worth of gold bricks were shipped from Zeballos.
With the onset of World War II, the community lost significant numbers of its workforce to the Canadian Army. Eventually, the mines began to close. Although post-war efforts were made to begin production again, the set price of $35.00 an ounce made it uneconomical for the mines to continue operating. Within twenty years, the mines had closed for good.
In the 1950s, logging emerged as a promising new industry for the village. In 1964, an iron mine was established. Although the timber industry proved successful for the community, the mine shut its doors just five years after opening.
Today, logging is the mainstay of the region’s economy. An ice plant receives and processes a variety of fish through the year, which is shipped to markets throughout Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. Tourism is growing as the region is increasingly becoming a destination for travellers who are looking for the excitement of wilderness recreation activities.