Fortress of the Grizzly
20 years ago, I cut my teeth as a Great Bear Rainforest bear guide running grizzly bear tours in coastal estuaries. Spring on the British Columbia coast is glorious. There is nothing like the sweet fragrance and vibrant greens of spring, mingled with birdsong, snow-capped mountains, and the sight of grizzly bears amidst all.
Since then, I have explored a lot of inlets/fjords on the coast of British Columbia, but until this spring I had never been to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. In my opinion, every inlet on the coast is dramatic and beautiful. But there is no doubt that the Khutzeymateen is special.
Located in a spectacular glacial fjord with a vibrant estuary, multiple salmon streams, and flanked by old-growth temperate rainforest, an estimated 50-60 grizzly bears are known to depend on this special place. This represents one of the densest populations of grizzly bears in Canada. At 45,000 hectares, the Khutzeymateen truly is, as one author put it, the “Fortress of the Grizzly.”