Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada – 250 miles off the central and northern coasts of British Columbia, some of the oldest and tallest trees on Earth reach for the sky. Covering 21 million acres, the Great Bear Rainforest, which stretches from Knight Inlet in British Columbia’s Inside Passage to the Alaska Panhandle, is home to thousand-year-old red cedars and towering Sitka spruces. Grizzly bears, wolves, bald eagles, and the elusive spirit bear shelter in dense stands of western hemlock and Douglas fir, sheltered from the rain clouds of the “Amazon of the North.” The water-soaked landscape hosts numerous rushing rivers, cascading waterfalls, mossy mountain slopes and glacier-carved fjords. Sea otters, dolphins and whales roam the mighty Pacific Ocean, while bears roam the banks of salmon-rich rivers every summer.

Traveling the GBR offers not only a quiet place to enjoy the silence and green surroundings, but also a rare opportunity, if you’re really lucky, to see the Kermode polar bear, also known as the ‘spirit bear’. Nat Hab explorations in the region, like our Spirit Bears, Humpbacks & Wildlife of BC trip, use local Gitga’at guides who have a close connection to this isolated wilderness. These First Nations people, who have lived among the Kermode Bears for millennia, know where to look for them and how to best (and most carefully) showcase the endless flora and fauna of this precious landscape.

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Today we’ll take a look at what natural wonders are found in the Great Bear Forest, from the spirit bear to the Sitka spruce, and why it’s such an amazing natural kingdom to visit.

Packing Guide For The Great Bear Rainforest

There are so many “awesome” things about the Great Bear Rainforest that it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ll start with its sheer size, which is about the size of Ireland and covers a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest (and the largest portion of intact temperate rainforest on the planet). We also think it’s pretty cool because it’s the only place in the world where you can hope to see a Kermode bear. To get here, you have to make an effort, which increases its attractiveness. There are few roads, with most of the GBR accessible primarily by boat or seaplane.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

As for the name, the Rainy Coast Conservation Society published the Canadian Rainy Coast Wildlife Report in 1994, where Peter McAllister coined the term “Great Bear Wildlife”. Ian McAllister (Peter’s son) edited Rainforest’s Wilderness and expanded its scope from the large, wild areas of British Columbia’s Central Coast to include the entire Central and North Coasts. Peter McAllister was one of the main founders of the Raincoast Conservation Society, who played a major role in the campaign to protect the area.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

This great wilderness of the Northern Hemisphere is home to grizzly bears, black bears, and the mysterious spirit bear. While no self-respecting wildlife enthusiast would spot a large grizzly or black bear in its natural habitat, spirit bears can haunt our souls, as did the Tsimshian people who once shared their ancient homeland with the Kermode bear.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

A Quick Guide To The Great Bear Rainforest

Local legend says that a crow turned one out of every 10 black bears white, a reminder of a time when glaciers covered the area, reminding those who lived there to be grateful for the nature and abundance around them. They believe that spirit bears have supernatural powers and have lived in harmony with them and other wild animals since time immemorial. Biologically speaking, the Kermode bear gets its natural white fur from a recessive white gene carried by approximately 10 percent of black bears born in the area.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Complex coastal rainforest ecosystems have four common factors: they are in cooler climates, they are close to the ocean, they have mountains, and they have high average rainfall. It is a dynamic relationship between terrestrial, marine, freshwater and estuarine systems, each playing out in its own symbiotic way. The coastal rainforest is an optimal habitat for the world’s oldest and largest trees: Sitka spruce, red cedar, western hemlock, spruce amabilis (also known as Pacific silver fir), and Douglas fir.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

These epic trees can grow up to 300 feet tall and have a lifespan of over 1,500 years. British Columbia’s coastal rainforests are the result of more than 10,000 years of evolution following the melting of the last glaciers of the Pleistocene Era. Natural disturbances, such as wildfires, are rare and small in scale, allowing these coastal paradises to settle and develop unhindered.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Boating The Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada

Come to the spirit bear. stay for grizzlies, black bears, coastal gray wolves, sitka deer, cougars, mountain goats, killer whales, salmon, sea lions, sea otters, and humpback whales. Between your bear-tracking trips in Kermode, which require a lot of patience, you’re bound to encounter at least a few of these other rainforest dwellers. Rich salmon runs provide sustenance for killer whales, eagles, bears, wolves, and more. In fact, wild salmon are one of the most important keystone species in coastal rainforest ecosystems because grizzlies depend on healthy fish for survival. The bears then drag the salmon carcasses into the forest, which eventually feed the forest soil.

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

According to the Raincoast Conservation Society, “North America is home to about 350 species of birds and animals, including 48 species of amphibians and reptiles, 25 species of trees, hundreds of species of fungi and lichens, and thousands of insects, mites, spiders, and more. other soil organisms are found in coastal temperate rainforests. Researchers are just now discovering the number of organisms, especially insects, living in the canopies of North America’s coastal rainforests. These forests can support the greatest diversity of fungi and lichens of any forest system. So in addition to those quiet spirit bears and sky-high trees, check out the little guys while you’re here. There are many wonders to be found, even in such humble plant life as lichens.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Research has found that nearly 60% of the world’s original coastal temperate rainforests have been lost to deforestation and development. Where North America’s temperate rainforests once stretched from the Pacific coast between southeastern Alaska and northern California, that area has now been shrunk by more than half. There is no more than 12,300 acres of coastal watershed, undeveloped and undiscovered, south of the Canadian border. This sobering fact speaks to the importance of the Great Bear Rainforest and its status as the largest contiguous tract of temperate rainforest left on the planet.Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

Sailing The Great Bear Rainforest In Canada

Of course, with the threatened forest come endangered species, including the spirit bear, of which there are believed to be only a few hundred left. Current conservation campaigns are focusing their efforts on protecting the Kermode bears from future deforestation and oil pipeline development. In 2006, a landmark agreement closed a vast area of ​​the Great Bear Rainforest to loggers, nearly the size of the state of New Jersey. And in 2016, First Nations communities, the forest industry, the British Columbia government and several partner environmental groups announced the Big Bear Accord, a “groundbreaking agreement to permanently protect 85% of the Great Bear’s forests from industrial logging.”

Nat Hab trips to the Great Bear Rainforest, like British Columbia’s spirit bears, humpback whales and wildlife, connect you to the land and inspire its protection. Our departures introduce you to this magnificent, ancient ecosystem where the mysterious Kermode bears roam, eagles soar and charismatic killer whales roam the sea. We join local guides from the Gitga’at Indigenous People within the protected boundaries of the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy, relying on their intimate knowledge as we search for light bears along streams and estuaries. The people of Gitga’at spend hours in the forest as part of their lifestyle and are familiar with bear behavior and where they have been seen recently. Listen and learn as you hear about the experiences and stories of these mysterious creatures, an oral history lived by the more than two dozen First Nations that have long made their home here.

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

We hope you’ll join us on an upcoming adventure in the Great Bear Rainforests of Canada’s Coast Range and British Columbia’s Inside Passage, immersing yourself in a place of stunning natural beauty home to remarkable plants and animals.

Great Bear Sea

From her home office in Northwest Seattle, Michelle has been creating compelling content for travel destinations around the world for over 20 years. In those two decades, he made the leap from Virtuoso’s hotels and resorts editor to full-time freelance editor and writer, and never looked back.

Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

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Great Bear Rainforest British Columbia Canada

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