Great Bear Rainforest
B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest is a global ecological treasure. It is home to 1,000-year-old western red cedars, trees as tall as 30-storey buildings and the rare white Kermode bear—or “Spirit” Bear. This dazzling coastal forest is intricately linked to the ocean in a maze of fjords and inlets. It stretches from on B.C.’s south coast to the Alaskan border to the north and is the traditional territory of First Nations who have lived in this ecosystem for thousands of years. Covering 6.4 million hectares, the Great Bear Rainforest represents 25 per cent of the earth’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforests.
Until 2006, the Great Bear Rainforest was slated for clear-cut logging. Following a prolonged international campaign, precedent-setting land use agreements were achieved in February 2006 by the B.C. government, Learn about the history of this important campaign., forest industry, environmental groups and other stakeholders. The agreements legally two million hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest from logging—an area about the size of Belize. They also commit forestry companies to switch to lighter touch logging practices in the remainder of the forest. Sierra Club BC played a key role in achieving the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.
In March 2009, all stakeholders committed to new milestones that will extend conservation and improve human well-being in coastal communities. Some of these milestones are now seriously delayed. In February 2012, on the sixth anniversary of the Great Bear agreements, Sierra Club BC and other environmental groups called on B.C. Premier Christy Clark to follow through on her government's commitment and take immediate steps to ensure that the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are fully implemented.
As we work towards achieving the multi-year implementation plan agreed to in 2009, the Great Bear Rainforest faces new threats. Enbridge Inc. is proposing to build a pipeline from the tar sands of northern Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline would transport tar sands crude to Kitimat, where it would be loaded onto supertankers destined for Asia and the US. More than 200 tankers a year—two to three per week—would weave a hazardous path through an obstacle course of narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of the Great Bear. Learn more about the proposed pipeline and other issues facing this world-renowned protected area.
You can help us ensure permanent protection for the Great Bear Rainforest. Solutions like Ecosystem-Based Management and economic transformation are key to the success of this unique conservation model. First Nations are playing a crucial role in protecting the Great Bear, including through the Guardian Watchmen program supported by Sierra Club BC. Learn more about these solutions and how you can help.