In the 1990s the Great Bear Rainforest was known as the Mid Coast Timber Supply Area. As this name suggests, the land base was slated to be logged. Recognizing that coastal British Columbia has one of the largest remaining intact temperate rainforests globally, First Nations and environmentalists came together to change the way land use planning is conducted in this area. Today, we have committed 48% of the land base in our Territory to being formally protected.
Despite this gain, the need for responsible land use planning is not over. Our Nation sees a need and opportunity for long term, sustainable industries and we believe that our responsibility to manage our Territory extends beyond the 48% of land that is formally protected. In order to effectively practice continuous adaptive management in our protected areas and beyond, we need to acquire accurate data and conduct on the ground monitoring.
The Spirit Bear Research Foundation was born of this history and the necessity to understand how the ecosystem is changing. When people in our community began to notice patterns such as salmon declines and bears moving to islands, we teamed up with conservation scientists and created the Spirit Bear Research Foundation. In addition to ecological wellbeing, we are also dedicated to the human wellbeing of our community. We see the opportunities that ecotourism and research offer as sustainable conservation based economies and value the meaningful employment opportunities they offer community members, especially to our youth.