GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST
Tweedsmuir Provincial Park – South is one of the largest of B.C.’s several hundred parks. Located in the west-central region of the province, 480 km northwest of Vancouver as the crow flies, Tweedsmuir is roughly triangular in shape. It is bounded on the north and northwest by the Ootsa-Whitesail Lakes reservoir, on the west and southwest by the Coast Mountains, and on the east by the Interior Plateau.
Tweedsmuir is a part of the Great Bear Rainforest which is a temperate rain forest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada comprising 6.4 million hectares. It is part of the larger Pacific temperate rainforest ecoregion, which is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world.
The Great Bear Rainforest was officially recognized by the Government of British Columbia in February 2016, when it announced an agreement to permanently protect 85% of the old-growth forested area from industrial logging. The forest was admitted to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in September of the same year.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., calls the Great Bear Rainforest “the planet’s last large expanse of coastal temperate rain forest.” Stretching for more than 250 miles along the coast of British Columbia, the 21-million-acre wilderness is sometimes called the Amazon of the North.
The vast, sodden land encompasses 1,000-year-old cedars, waterfalls spouting off the sides of moss-covered mountains, granite-dark waters, and glacier-cut fjords. This remote expanse is home to many First Nations communities as well as abundant wildlife: coastal gray wolves, grizzly bears, Sitka deer, cougars, mountain goats, orca, salmon, sea lions, sea otters, humpback whales, and its most celebrated resident, the rare, cream-colored Kermode bear, or sprit bear, considered sacred by the T’simshian people. (Spotting a spirit bear takes a lot of patience, even more luck, and the expert tracking skills of a local guide.)
From late August to the middle of October, thousands of returning salmon draw wildlife to the local rivers, making this the best time to view grizzly bears and the elusive Kermode bear. Trout fishing is in season year-round, and different Pacific salmon species run the rivers from April through October.