The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest intact tracts of coastal temperate rainforest left in the world, and British Columbia will preserve it. The Great Bear Rainforest agreement creates a gift to the world and ensures that 85 percent of the forested area is permanently protected from industrial logging. Home to the Great Bear Rainforest, the wild, rugged beauty of British Columbia’s central coast draws artists, photographers, naturalists, scientists and travellers – all in pursuit of their passion, adventure, plus the freshest of seafood.
Whether you come to fish, hike, bike, ocean kayak, take a wildlife eco-tour, soak in the hot springs or just enjoy the natural splendour, you will be treated to wonders that are found few places on earth. The mist-draped coastline of the Pacific is lined with towering, snow-crowned peaks, massive ice fields and some of the world’s longest fjords. Old-growth stands of cedar and spruce cover the land, and rich, salmon-filled streams weave through the valley basins, providing food for the magnificent creatures that inhabit the Coast – killer whales, eagles, marine wolves and bears, including the mysterious white Spirit Bear, or Kermode.
The Central Coast reaches from the Coast Mountains of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park west to the Queen Charlotte Islands; and from Rivers Inlet and Owekeeno in the south, north to Princess Royal Island in British Columbia The landscape northwest of Bella Coola is some of the most isolated in the province. The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest remaining tract of unspoiled temperate rainforest in the world and home to several ancient First Nations cultural sites. Princess Royal Island, a primordial expanse of wilderness accessible only by boat or air, is the main haunt of the Kermode or Spirit Bear. Aside from the Tsimshian (sim-SHE-an), who once inhabited a coastal village here; few humans ever visited the island. Today, that has changed as guided tours offer a chance to see the majestic, powerful grizzly or rare Spirit Bear.
Fishing enthusiasts flock to lodges with an impressive history of producing some of the largest salmon in the world, while giant halibut cruise the floor of the inlets; and near the reefs, lingcod weighing up to 27kg/59.5lb can be caught. Long before white explorers arrived in the Great Bear Rainforest, First Nations of the central coast thrived, living off both land and ocean, and trading with interior tribes. Approximately two-thirds of the Coast’s population today is First Nation. In Bella Coola, the Nuxalk (nu-halk) are well known for the carvings, masks, and paintings that can be seen throughout the valley, while in Bella Bella the Heiltsuk welcome you to experience British Columbia’s majestic Central Coast.
The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure that covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast. In 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (better known as Prince William and Kate Middleton), visited Bella Bella to dedicate the Great Bear Rainforest to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative, a “global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism.” Take a visual tour, read stories as told by Indigenous people that call this region home, watch videos that shoot from impossible proximity to these great, reclusive kings of the forests and discover what sets this area apart from anywhere else in the world. Visit www.greatbeartales.com for an up-close and intimate experience.