Home to the Great Bear Rainforest, this area’s remote solitude and wild beauty has long drawn artists, photographers, naturalists and travellers looking for big adventures and the freshest of seafood. Whether you want to fish, hike, bike, ocean kayak, take a wildlife eco-tour, soak in the hot springs or just enjoy the natural splendour, you will be treated to wonders that are found few places on earth.
The mist-draped coastline of the Pacific is lined with towering, snow-crowned peaks, massive ice fields and some of the world’s longest fjords. Old-growth stands of cedar and spruce cover the land, and rich salmon streams weave through the valley bottoms, providing food for the magnificent creatures that inhabit the coast – killer whales, eagles, marine wolves and bears, including the mysterious white Spirit Bear, or Kermode.
The Central Coast reaches from the Coast Mountains of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park west to the islands of ; and from Rivers Inlet north to Princess Royal Island The landscape northwest of Bella Coola is some of the most isolated in the province. The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest remaining tract of unspoiled temperate rainforest in the world and home to several ancient First Nations cultural sites.
Princess Royal Island, a primordial expanse of wilderness accessible only by boat or air, is the main haunt of the Kermode or Spirit Bear. Aside from the Tsimshian (sim-SHE-an), who once inhabited a coastal village here; few humans ever visited the island. Today, that has changed as guided tours offer a chance to see the majestic, powerful grizzly or rare Spirit Bear.
Fishing enthusiasts flock to lodges with an impressive history of producing some of the largest salmon in the world, while giant halibut weighing up to 91kg/200lb cruise the floor of the inlets; and near the reefs, ling cod weighing up to 27kg/59.5lb can be caught.
Long before white explorers arrived in the Great Bear Rainforest, First Nations of the central coast thrived, living off both land and ocean and trading with interior tribes. Approximately two thirds of the Coast’s population today is First Nation. In Bella Coola, the Nuxalk (nu-halk) are well known for the carvings, masks, and paintings that can be seen throughout the valley.