Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Huge Canadian park to dwarf Yellowstone

February 8, 2006

(Vancouver, BC) – Canada unveiled a 16-million acre preserve Tuesday, including parkland covering an area twice the size of Yellowstone, 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 an accord between governments, aboriginal First Nations, the logging industry and environmentalists.

It 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.

‘‘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 B.C.‘s coast for the benefit of all British Columbians,’‘ said Premier Gordon Campbell.

‘‘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,’‘ he said.

16 million acres

Campbell said 4.4 million acres would be protected outright and managed as parkland, with another 11.6 million run under an ecosystem management plan to ensure sustainable forestry with minimal impact on the environment. Yellowstone National Park is 2.2 million acres.

Art Sterritt of the North Coast First Nations said the agreement would allow for controlled use of the land and let natives continue their traditional lifestyles.

‘‘It wasn’t an easy job,’‘ he said. ‘‘Everyone had to make compromises here and there.’‘