At this stage of my journey, most of my contemporaries have retired or are thinking of retiring from the workplace. I won’t deny that I have put some thought into this in the last year.
I have been immensely proud to work with my colleagues, my chosen family, at Raincoast, for almost 20 years.
One of the great privileges of my life has been to coordinate the campaign to end commercial trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest by buying up commercial hunting tenures. Since 2005, we have purchased the exclusive guiding rights in five tenures, an area of over 38,000 km2, in the spectacular wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest. The result is that the lives of literally thousands of grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and other carnivores have been spared.
Ironically, as I was contemplating what retirement might look like for me, a fantastic opportunity presented itself. The owner of one the largest commercial hunting territories in the Great Bear Rainforest has himself decided to retire and approached us with an offer to sell it to Raincoast. It is an area that we have long desired. At 18,239 km2 the Southern Great Bear Rainforest Tenure covers a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Profoundly diverse, it includes habitat from the grizzly bear dens in frozen reaches of the Homathco Icefield high in the Coast Mountains to miles-long sandy beaches, the highways of coastal wolves, on the outer shores of Hecate strait.
It contains the watersheds and critical estuaries of 10 major rivers! Countless other salmon-bearing streams and their watersheds, many even without names, flow into the six major inlets, and numerous sounds of this labyrinthine coast. It stretches from Smith Inlet all the way down to Toba Inlet below Campbell River. It is some of the finest habitat in the world for grizzly bear, black bear, wolves, cougars and threatened Roosevelt elk.
As I look back on the accomplishments of this project, it feels really good to reflect on the thousands of individual animals over many generations who are alive today because of it. It also feels very rewarding to reflect on the profound effect it has had in building healthy diverse coastal ecosystems.
The abundant wildlife also supports at least 19 tour operators who have established businesses that rely on carefully conducted wildlife viewing within this tenure. I am proud that our advocacy and the purchases of these tenures has given substantial support to this sector that will be an important component of the new, non-extractive economy that we must transition to.
Given this fabulous opportunity, I have decided to delay my retirement from Raincoast and commit the next two years to working to raise the $1.92 million that we need to acquire this tenure in such a spectacular area. It will be a significant challenge, but I am confident that our supporters, as they have in the past, will see the incredible tangible value that this opportunity presents and step up to meet the challenge.
In a world that has lately seen too many entries on the negative side of the environmental balance sheet, this is a spectacularly positive entry, and I am excited and energized by this opportunity.
LET’S DO THIS!!!
Help us safeguard Coastal Carnivores in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure.
Photo by Taylor Burke
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