The Great Bear Rainforest becomes a park!

PHOTO - ISTOCK Morning clouds on the coastal mountains

PHOTO – ISTOCK
Morning clouds on the coastal mountains

Story adapted from The Vancouver Sun by Patty Bossort

LEVEL 2

The Great Bear Rainforest will become a park in the spring of 2016.

People fought to make this area a park for over 20 years. It took 10 years to make a deal.

The deal will protect the environment. It allows some logging and respects the wishes and economic opportunities of the Coastal First Nations.

PHOTO - ISTOCK A kermode or spirit bear is fishing in the stream.

PHOTO – ISTOCK
A kermode or spirit bear is fishing in the stream.

“I am proud and happy but still a little upset it took this long,” says Dallas Smith. Smith is president of the Nanwakolas Council, a First Nations organization.

Read the story and do the exercise.

Logging is banned in 85% of the forest. This is about half of the park area.

Hunting of grizzly bears is banned in the traditional territory of the Coastal First Nations.

The deal ends all hunting for the spirit bear, also known as the kermode bear.

What is the Great Bear Rainforest?

The Great Bear Rainforest is a large area on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. The Great Bear Rainforest is huge. It covers 6.4 million hectares on the Pacific Coast of Canada.

Animals, salmon and ancient trees live here. Many aboriginal groups and small towns also live here.

Where is the Great Bear Rainforest?

PHOTO - GREENPEACE, SIERRA CLUB B.C. FOREST ETHICS The Great Bear Rainforest is on the BC coast.

PHOTO – GREENPEACE, SIERRA CLUB B.C. FOREST ETHICS
The Great Bear Rainforest is on the BC coast.

Why is the Great Bear Rainforest special?

The forest helps clean the air and water. It is the home to grizzly bears, wolves and cougars.

Animals and salmon are important for the forest’s survival.

Salmon swim up the rivers to spawn in the creeks. This is called the salmon run.

Bears and wolves come to the river to hunt for fish. They drag the fish into the forest to eat them.

The forest plants need the salmon bodies to grow. Most of the nitrogen in the forest’s trees comes from dead salmon.

What is a spirit bear?

PHOTO: ISTOCK The spirit bear likes honey.

PHOTO: ISTOCK
The spirit bear likes honey.

The spirit bear is a Kermode bear. A kermode bear is a kind of black bear. It has white fur.

The spirit bear lives in this forest.

Not very many people have seen a spirit bear. It is rare.

Groups celebrate new management deal

PHOTO - BC GOVERNMENT

PHOTO – BC GOVERNMENT

First Nations, environmental groups, coastal forest industry and BC government celebrate the Great Bear Rainforest.

Vocabulary

banned = not allowed, forbidden

celebrate = enjoy, honour

rainforest = forest that gets a lot of rain

hectare = unit of measure

259 hectares = 1 square mile

1 hectare = 2 acres

The Great Bear Rainforest is 6.4 million hectares or 12,000 square miles.

Find out more….

Watch this National Geographic video from Wild World about the Great Bear Rainforest

Watch Jenny Stevens’ video about the spirit bear

Cael Cook is a photographer. He lives on Vancouver Island.

Look at Cook’s beautiful photos of the Great Bear Rainforest and the spirit bear.