Great Bear Rainforest

Feature Type:Region - A relatively large area having specific characteristics which give it a certain unity.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Mid-coast from Rivers Inlet to Skeena River and beyond
Latitude-Longitude: 52°59'59"N, 128°00'00"W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 103A
Related Maps: 103A

Origin Notes and History:

Established per Bill 2-2016: Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act, 19 May 2016; the whole containing approximately 6.4 million hectares. Boundary extends from the Discovery Islands in the south to the B.C.-Alaska border in the north and includes all the offshore islands in the area except for Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii.

Source: BC place name cards & correspondence, and/or research by BC Chief Geographer & Geographical Names Office staff.

See the Government of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest website for more information (

Source: included with note

The name given to the temperate rainforest characterizing BC's central coast, coined during the North and Central Coast Land & Resource Management Planning (LRMP) process in the mid-1990s. The term is increasingly extended to the entire coastal area from Discovery Channel northward to Stewart, and tourism operators include Haida Gwaii in their promotion of The Great Bear Rainforest. The area exceeds 40,000 sq/km - the size of Switzerland - and is the largest intact temperate coastal rainforest in the world, housing 40% more biomass per hectare than the Amazon basin. The Grizzly bear is the namesake, and upwards of 3,000 inhabit the region, but the Kermode or "Spirit" bear as become the evocative and iconic symbol of the Great Bear Rainforest - a subspecies of black bear carrying a recessive gene that displays as a creamy white coat; their habitat is Princess Royal Island and areas north.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.

"In contrast to resource landscapes, wilderness landscapes are valued for their noneconomic attributes. In some cases, values may be associated with alternative forms of production or consumption that may include transitory, small-scale economic enterprises such as cone picking or bee-keeping or, on a grander scale, ecotourism. Alternatively, some groups may seek outright preservation by referring to the scientific, ecological, or intrinsic values of these landscapes. Within these constructions, particular sites (eg. old growth forests specifically or the BC central coast region generally) and species for protection (eg. spotted owls, bears, or salmon) have been highlighted. For example, in 1997, without consulting local residents, a network of ENGOs [environmental nongovernmental organizations] renamed the mid-coast of the province "Great Bear Wilderness" (Greenpeace Canada 1998). Web sites, promotional materials, environmental representatives, and even news media now refer to this region as "Great Bear Rainforest" The emotive significance of such a name cannot be underestimated." (Reed, Maureen Gail; Taking Stands: Gender and the Sustainability of Rural Communities; UBC Press 2003, p.33)

Source: included with note