Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Canada unveils huge wildlife park

February 8, 2006

Canada has unveiled a 16-million acre preserve, including parkland teeming with grizzly bears, wolves and wild salmon in the ancestral home of many native tribes.

Closing another chapter of the wars between environmentalists and loggers, the Great Bear Rainforest is the result of a deal between governments, aboriginal First Nations, the logging industry and activists.

The new preserve, which dwarfs the famed 2.2-million-acre Yellowstone National Park in the United States, will stretch 250 miles along British Columbia’s rugged Pacific coastline – the ancestral home of groups whose cultures date back thousands of years.

The area also sustains a rare white bear found only in British Columbia. First Nations – as native Indians are called in Canada – believe their creator, the Raven, created the white bear as a reminder of the last ice age.

“The agreement on these areas represents an unprecedented collaboration between First Nations, industry, local governments and many other stakeholders in how we manage the vast richness of BC’s coast for the benefit of all British Columbians,” said premier Gordon Campbell, who was accompanied by native dancers and drummers for the announcement and formal First Nations blessing.

“The result is a strong marriage that balances the needs of the environment with the need for sustainable jobs and a strong economic future for coastal communities.”