Guest Contributor | February 1st, 2007
Story by Shalom Harlow
Photos by Aaron Ward
The Great Bear Rain Forest is every nature lovers dream come true. This ancient forest offers the chance to witness the majestic beauty of nature in her most intimate and primitive form. Experience the most life-affirming trip imaginable.
The Great Bear Rain Forest is the last remaining temperate rain forest with an intact ecosystem. One fifth of the world’s wild salmon population call this home and in early September they return to their birth place upstream to spawn. Witness the ancient dance and delicate balance between salmon, wolves, bears and whales.
The Great Bear Rain Forest is the only home to the magical Spirit Bear. Due to a recessive gene, one out of every ten black bears are born a spirit bear, making them more rare than the panda.
The newly formed Great Bear Rain Forest stretches from Vancouver Island to just below Alaska on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia. It’s the size of Switzerland and encompasses 15 million acres, of which 5 million have now been protected from logging.
Over the last 10 years Forest Ethics and other environmental groups fought to protect this land by forming coalitions with First Nations people who populate the area to protect this pristine old growth forest from the chainsaws of clear cut logging. Their strategy was to educate the consumers of the companies that were buying the tree products as to where their paper or building supplies were coming from. Then they asked the important question, “Do you want to be part of the destruction of this place?”
Most responded with a resounding no! which has lead to the protection of one third of this most precious place and thankfully because the hard and dedicated work of many we now can witness the beauty of these primeval forests.
And we can watch in wonder as whales who lurk below the surface of the cold North Pacific waters they call home for the winter months suddenly spout their self made fountains of water and show off the beauty of their tails.
And we can watch in wonder as whales who lurk below the surface of the clod north Atlantic waters they call home for the winter months suddenly spout their self made fountains of water and show off the beauty of their tales.
We stayed at the King Pacific Lodge, a Luxury wilderness retreat that provides upscale eco-tourism. This floating hotel on a barge offers tours guided by the Gitga’at First Nations. You can structure your time as you desire and choose from nature tours, heli-hiking, kayaking, fly-in fishing or simply relaxing in their spa with a massage or soak in the hot tub.
Shalom Halow is a model, actor, and nature lover.
Aaron Ward is a photographer, model, and believer.