a lake reflecting a grey sky with pine trees on either side
Big House in the Mist The Kitasoo/Xai'xais Nation's Big House in Klemtu, BC, Canada. © Jason Houston

Conserving at Scale

Reimagining Conservation in Great Bear

The 19-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest on Earth.

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This is a land of mist-shrouded valleys and glacier-cut fjords, old-growth forests, wildlife like grizzly bears, spirit bears and rich salmon streams. It’s also home to First Nations people who have been linked to the rainforest since time immemorial.

We need your support to continue our momentum working with local Indigenous communities to develop a model for sustainable resource management that will have global implications. The time is now to invest in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Now Showing: See Great Bear Rainforest in IMAX

A new IMAX film, Great Bear Rainforest, explores this important landscape. Filmmakers Ian McAllister and Jeff Turner spent three years making the film, which focuses on the unique wildlife of Great Bear and the First Nation communities who have guarded the landscape for centuries. 

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear An IMAX film about the last intact temperate rainforest in the world.


Industrial developments, logging, and the combined effects of climate change continue to threaten the cultural and ecological integrity of the Great Bear Rainforest. 

Our Impact

Nature United works in the Great Bear Rainforest to foster local natural resource management, support First Nations leadership, and engage the next generation to steward their lands and waters. 

Nature's First Defenders Heiltsuk First Nation

The historic Great Bear Rainforest Agreement  places 9 million acres off limits to logging and millions more acres under strict forest management guidelines. 

We’re helping build sustainable and resilient communities by supporting local leadership, and natural resource management agencies, schools, and conservation-based businesses. 

We’re combining our scientific and conservation planning know-how with traditional First Nations knowledge, including approaches to decision making that incorporate Indigenous laws and customs. 

The Spirit Bear

The living symbol of the Great Bear Rainforest is the rare and elusive spirit bear. 

Spirit bears are actually black bears—a recessive gene makes approximately one in ten black bears as white as a polar bear. 

Only about 400 spirit bears persist in remote regions of coastal British Columbia. 

Though rarely seen, the spirit bear is promoted as a symbol of the Great Bear Rainforest—and a reminder of the importance of protecting this special place on the planet. 


First Nations are the traditional stewards of the lands and waters within the Great Bear Rainforest. The well-being of the Great Bear Rainforest goes hand in hand with the well-being of the those who habit it. 

We work with First Nations leaders to support local resource management that enhances the ecological and cultural well being in the region and ensures the sustainability of communities for generations to come. 

We strive to develop meaningful partnerships with First Nations communities that create a dialogue of trust and respect for Indigenous rights and cultural traditions.  

Our Initiatives in Great Bear

  • SEAS Interns Mercedes Robinson-Neasloss, Robert Duncan, and Mercy Mason.

    Youth Development

    The SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards) initiative provides hands-on educational opportunities for Indigenous youth in leadership and natural resource management. Learn More

  • In 2016, TNC Canada sponsored a delegation of Indigenous leaders from British Columbia, Alaska and Washington to participate in the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

    Community Exchanges

    Nature United supports community exchanges and peer learning networks with Indigenous communities in the Great Bear Rainforest and around the world. Learn More

  • Boats operated by the Kitasoo Coastal Guardian Watchmen and Spirit Bear Lodge, near Klemtu, BC. Boats are the most common way of getting around this mostly roadless region.

    Indigenous Stewardship

    Working with local First Nations, Nature United supports the use of strong science and traditional knowledge to protect culturally important sites and resources. Learn More

  • A young male Grizzly dines on grass and berries on the shore of Khutze Inlet, Great Bear Rainforest.

    Wildlife Conservation

    Nature United supports First Nations leaders developing rigorous scientific data on grizzly bear abundance on the central coast of British Columbia. Learn More