Rainforest Solutions Project

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


CBC- B.C. protects large coastal area

February 7, 2006

The B.C. government has declared more than 100 new protected zones, raising the total in the province to more than three times the area of Prince Edward Island.

Premier Gordon Campbell announced the new protected areas on the B.C. coast on Tuesday. They cover 1.2 million hectares, where habitat conservation, maintaining biodiversity, and the preservation of special landscape, recreation and cultural heritage features are a priority. That brings the total protected to 1.8 million hectares.

The new areas include one of the largest intact temperate rainforests in the world, home to the Kermode or Spirit Bear, a black bear with white fur.

“The agreement reached on these areas represents an unprecedented collaboration between First Nations, industry, environmentalists, local governments and many other stakeholders in how we manage the vast richness of B.C.‘s coast,” Campbell said in a statement.

The protected areas are part of the 6.4-million-hectare region of B.C.‘s central and north coast, where the province on Tuesday outlined zoning plans for land and resource management.

The deal covers a vast area of B.C.‘s central coastal forest that environmentalists have dubbed the Great Bear Rainforest, and the north coast forest.

In some smaller areas, called biodiversity areas, limited economic development is allowed.

In the largest sections, dubbed ecosystem-based management operating areas, environmentally sensitive economic development that benefits local communities will be allowed. These areas, where there could be work like helicopter logging, account for about two-thirds of the total 6.4 million hectares.

“I think we can look forward to a world where we are actually going to have one of the cutting-edge models for new forestry, a model that can be looked at elsewhere in the world,” said Lisa Matthaus of the Sierra Club of Canada. “I think we will have one of the most amazing success stories.”

The land-use plan will allow limited logging, and environmental organizations will contribute $60 million to help fund economic initiatives such as eco-tourism. The province will add $30 million and ask Ottawa to match it.