The Great Bear Rainforest, Koeye river delta, south of Bella Bella./ Photo: Markus Mauthe/Greenpeace

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest:  Where one of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforests is also home to many, many First Nations, and which holds one of the richest and most wondrous ecosystems on Earth – there’s no other place like it on the planet. 

Over the past seven years of working on what is really now a two decade-long campaign to safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest, I have met incredible people, spent time in communities deeply rooted in place and have learned wondrous things about this magical place. Here are my Top 7 Wondrous Facts about the Great Bear Rainforest:

1. There are at least 26 First Nations whose unceded traditional territories make up the Great Bear Rainforest.

Nuxalk Nation members play music in logged forest. Photo:  Greenpeace / Ivan Hunter

2. First Nations have ancient village sites going back at least 10 000 years, if not longer.

Kvai Big House Opening - Heiltsuk First Nation territory, Great Bear Rainforest 2006 / Photo: Steph GoodwinPetroglyph - Nuxalk First Nation traditional territory / Photo: Jens Wieting

3. Cedar trees and how they are used have been deeply intertwined with the cultural and spiritual life of First Nations for millennia.

Cedar forest, Sonora Island Photo: Camille Eriksson

4. The rare, elusive white Spirit Bear can only be found in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Spirit Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest - photo: Andrew S. Wright

5. Why do trees grow so large in the old-growth forests of the Great Bear?  Because bears leave their partially eaten salmon in the forest, like offerings, for the trees and soil to absorb the nutrients. In fact salmon DNA has been found in the old trees

Salmon carcass left by bears in Great Bear Rainforest - Gitgaat Territory / Photo: Eduardo Sousa

6. The threatened Marbled murrelet doesn’t build a nest but instead makes a depression in the moss found in the canopy of old-growth trees.

Marbled Murrelet. Photo: Rick & Nora Bowers/Vireo

7. There are some great live cam websites that take you into the seas and rainforests of the Great Bear such as here and here.

If you haven't visited this magnificent part of the world, you need to go and then share with us your Top 7! If you have visited, share with us your Top 7 below in the comments.


Eduardo Sousa - photo by Steph Goodwin

 Eduardo Sousa is senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. He  has been working these past seven years to help finalize the Great Bear  Rainforest Agreements, and is also active in helping preserve the  remaining large intact forests of Clayoquot Sound - both in unceded  traditional territories of over thirty First Nations on the west coast of  Canada. You can follow him on twitter at GreatBearEduard.