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UCLUELET, 8km south of the main Hwy 4 Port Alberni junction, means "People of the Sheltered Bay", from the aboriginal word ucluth – "wind blowing in from the bay". It was named by the Nuu-chah-nulth, who lived here for centuries before the arrival of whites who came to exploit some of the world's richest fishing grounds immediately offshore. Today the port is still the third largest in BC by volume of fish landed, a trade that gives the town a slightly dispersed appearance and an industrial fringe – mainly lumber and canning concerns – and makes it a less appealing, if nonetheless popular base for anglers, whale-watchers, water-sports enthusiasts and tourists headed for Long Beach to the north.
If you want a breath of air in town, the nearest trails are at Terrace Beach, just east of the town off Peninsula Road before the lighthouse. A longer and more coherent trail, the Wild Pacific Trail, opened in 1999, though then it consisted of just 2.7km of path. However, the track is planned in seven phases, more of which are being completed annually. Currently, phases three and four have been accomplished, running along the rugged cliffs and shoreline northwest of the town.