Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


B.C. to unveil huge new park

February 7, 2006

Officials in British Columbia are expected to announce today the creation of a huge national park that is twice the size of Yellowstone, the Washington Post reports The park, in a vast coastal area that is home to grizzly bears, salmon and old-growth cedar forests, will cover 4.4 million acres. Strict new controls also will protect an additional 10 million acres from exploitation.

The territory is called Great Bear Rainforest and includes most of British Columbia’s central and north coast, from the northern coast of Vancouver Island to Alaska. Most of it is accessible only by boat or seaplane and only about 30,00 people live there – more than half of them members of Indian tribes.

“This is aimed at trying to find a balance, wherepeople can understand and really enjoy our wilderness and we protect our wildlife, while recognizing that people are part of the ecosystem,” B.C. premier Gordon Campbell told the Washington Post on Monday. “We all win. I think this model will be emulated in different parts of the world.”

The announcement would end a decade-long environmental battle once dubbed the “War of the Woods.”

The provincial government owns the land, which was once slated for logging. But provincial officials entered negotiations with environmentalists after years of protests and boycotts organized by groups fighting to stop clear-cutting practices.

Outside the park, 10 million acres will be managed by committees that will set limits on logging, mining and the commercial efforts of native groups who still have claims to land, according to the Washington Post.