A grizzly bears strolls an estuary walled by granite cliffs down which countless waterfalls drop hundreds of feet, as if straight from the clouds. The jet black dorsal fins of killer whales slice the ocean surface. A crash follows the breach of a humpback whale. These are the sights and sounds from a fall trip aboard Raincoast’s research vessel, Achiever. Encounters with these megafauna can typify experiences, and expectations, of a journey primarily through the territories of the Heiltsuk and Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nations, a place many know as the Great Bear Rainforest. This is a tale often told, these are the images we see, but it’s far from the whole story.
Umbrella species like the grizzly bear and apex predators such as the killer whale are a focus of Raincoast’s conservation efforts precisely because they are reliant on a broader range of species and processes, and a more complex system to which they contribute to and depend on.
Our focus on wild salmon recognizes their role as the foundation species of the coast.
You can read the full version of these notes from the field from Raincoast’s Ross Dixon about a trip in the Great Bear Rainforest aboard Raincoast’s research vessel, the Achiever.
Photos by Ross Dixon.