COLUMNS: Great Bear Rainforest lessons

The Cariboo boasts some of the most beautiful backcountry our province has to offer.

The Cariboo boasts some of the most beautiful backcountry our province has to offer. But our broader “backyard” extends far beyond the backcountry we know and love — to one of the most unique and breathtaking ecosystems in the world.

The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure that covers 6.4 million hectares of B.C.’s north and central coast.

Just like our backcountry, the Great Bear Rainforest has plenty to teach us, and holds many lessons for our children as well.

Among these is the importance of collaboration and balance. The model for protecting the Great Bear Rainforest was reached through globally unique planning processes that relied on collaboration and partnerships. This world-class model balances conservation needs, First Nations rights and economic activity that operates within nature’s limits.

Organizations from around the world have recognized the value of this approach to protecting our ecological treasure — most recently, when Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited in September, they conveyed the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under the prestigious Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative. To commemorate their visit, and to ensure that we teach our children the lessons of the Great Bear Rainforest, the B.C. government is establishing a $1 million Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust. Trust funds will go toward such initiatives as raising public awareness and developing teacher and student resources. In this way, it will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of B.C., First Nations, industry and environmental organizations worked together to develop an innovative approach to managing both our natural environment and human activities. The Great Bear Rainforest is B.C.’s gift to our children — and to the world. Through this fund, we hope to share the story of this gift.

If you would like to contribute to the Education Trust and help pass the lessons of the Great Bear Rainforest on to our children, you can buy a commemorative poster online at

Contact MLA Barnett’s constituency office: Phone: (250) 305-3800, e-mail: Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.