Feature

People, place, prosperity:
Strategic investment in the Great Bear Rainforest

Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia (Canada). September 8, 2010. Photo by (C) Daniel Beltra

The Great Bear Rainforest is a 6.4 million hectare coastal temperate rainforest on British Columbia’s north and central coast — equivalent in size to Ireland. It is the unceded traditional territory of 26 First Nations and contains some of the oldest and largest trees on earth, as well as a rich biodiversity of plants and animals.

It has been 10 years since First Nations, environmental groups, governments, logging companies, and local communities set aside their differences and worked together on one of the most significant conservation agreements ever negotiated—protecting this global jewel and investing in the people who call it home.

A decade on, the community-led transformation in the Great Bear is extraordinary. In just one decade, $81.6 million was invested in 353 projects —including 187 economic development projects and 166 conservation projects. 1033 jobs were created. 205 people were able to attend college or university. A staggering 2.1 million hectares were protected.*

Kermode bear, also known as Spirit bear.
Photo: Cristina Mittermeier
Photo: Cristina Mittermeier

Tides Canada was effectively “born” in the Great Bear Rainforest. The collaborative approach of bringing diverse groups together for a common cause continues to define Tides Canada’s work today. We believe that positive change at a systems level starts at the local level with solutions led by the people who are closest to the challenge.

To celebrate this 10-year milestone, we began asking questions like: what impact has resulted from our work in the Great Bear? What lessons did we learn? How did these lessons guide our work as we grew to other parts of Canada, like the North? And, how is our organization’s guiding purpose still derived from this special place?

Tides Canada’s forthcoming report, People, place, prosperity: Strategic investment in the Great Bear Rainforest aims to answer these questions and tell this remarkable story in more detail. We look forward to sharing it with you in the coming weeks.

*Outcomes cited are from Indigenous-led investments in sustainable development and stewardship with Coast Funds since 2007.
Tides Canada contributed to creating Coast Funds, who work in close partnership with First Nations to make the vital connection between strengthening First Nations’ well-being and their stewardship efforts in perpetuity throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest and Tides Canada’s “uncommon origin story” here.
To learn more about Tides Canada’s work in the Great Bear Rainforest and across British Columbia, visit tidescanada.org/focus/pacific-communities-and-conservation/