Become a Spirit Bear Defender!
save the Spirit Bear
After VWS's prolonged international campaign, the B.C. government and some coastal First Nations signed a protocol agreement in 2001 to protect a large portion of the spirit bear sanctuary proposed by the Valhalla Society in the late 1980s. As well they made a commitment to protect other key bear habitats of the B.C. Central Coast and established a moratorium on logging in all of these proposed protected areas including those of the spirit bear. Land-use planning processes ended up being very slow. Meanwhile, the government did announce several times a commitment to protect a spirit bear sanctuary but this did not happen. At the same time, some key ecological areas of spirit bear habitats and other areas including several proposed parks continued to be clearcut. After another 4 years, by late 2005 the province finally reached an agreement with aboriginal governments to fully protect 26% of the B.C. Central and North Coast and partially protect another 6%; considerably short of the minimum of 45–50 % full protection recommended by a 17-member blue ribbon science panel but nonetheless a good big first step in the right direction.
Over the last year, the Gitga'at and Kitasoo First Nations have mutually agreed to protect 2 additional key salmon-bear watersheds within our Spirit Bear Conservancy proposal: the Aaltanhash and Klekane (30,000+ ha). This would now take the total size of the Spirit Bear Conservancy to over 208,000 hectares – closer to the 262,000 ha VWS originally proposed. Both First Nations governments have now signed off with the province in protecting over 40% of their traditional lands, well beyond the coast-wide average of 32% proposed. This is a big step by the Kitasoo and the Gitga'at and deserves the respect of everyone. VWS will continue to try to see a handful of other key spirit bear areas protected included the Green and Carter watersheds as well as Gribbell Island and some other key island habitats.
While many other key areas on the coast are also still in need of some type of protection to at least the minimum 45–50 % recommended by the scientific team, if the government formally announced the current land-use plan agreement it would be a good first step in the right direction. However, they continue to drag their heels endlessly, now promising some announcement in 2006. These continual delays by the province now jeopardize the whole process, which could collapse like a house of cards into nothing but logging plans.
After the Valhalla Society's 18 year campaign, as of 2005 the spirit bear has received no protection from the B.C. provincial government. The province cannot continue to ignore the strong public pressure from thousands of people like you writing, phoning, faxing and e-mailing the premier in Victoria, B.C. and asking for preservation of the spirit bear's habitat.
Right now, we urgently need your support to ensure that the new Spirit Bear Protection Area receives full protection through legislation.
email to the Premier, your voice will make a difference.
Support the Valhalla Wilderness Society's scientific and public education work.