Situated in the Great Bear Rain Forest,
Bella Coola is a verdant ecological sanctuary,
but....


What is a Coastal Temperate Rain Forest?


While images of rain forests often include humid forests with colourful birds and exotic flowers, common to areas of equatorial Central and South America, Asia and Africa; few people realize an area of the west coast of North America has a similar climate-type that produces a temperate coastal rain forest, more commonly referred to as old-growth forests.

rainforest of Bella Coola These rain forests are rare, comprising much less than 1% of Earth's surface. One of the largest contiguous tracts of temperate rain forest left in the world is on British Columbia's mainland coast in the Great Bear Rain Forest. Within this area, the relatively mild climate, high precipitation (it is a rain forest…), and, limited human development have resulted in a long lasting ecosystem where trees can exceed 2000 years of age. The biomass of these forests, estimated to be between 500 and 2000 metric tons per hectare, exceeds that of the tropical rain forests.

bella coola 064 Technically a temperate rain forest is defined as any forest in the mid-latitudes that receives more than 125 cm (~50 inches) of rainfall a year. Bella Coola receives approximately 225 cm (~90 inches), fitting the profile perfectly. And if you don't believe the statistics, when you get here, look out a window, any window, you will be impressed by the forests. But don't despair about the weather. Bella Coola Mountain Lodge is located in Hagensborg, 16 km further inland and receives only 150 cm (~60 inches); and Firvale, another 30 km east where we offer many of our tours, receives about 75 cm (~30 inches).

The region covered by temperate rain forest experiences mild, wet winters and cool, foggy or cloud-covered summers. The mild winters permit year-round growth of the conifers, while the mild summers reduce the possibility of drought. This means it is a good idea to bring rain gear to Bella Coola.


What is the Great Bear Rain Forest?

The Great Bear Rain Forest is a region of temperate rain forest, located on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, stretching from Vancouver Island north to Alaska. Areas of the Great Bear Rain Forest are characterized by some of the oldest and largest trees on Earth, including Sitka spruce, red cedar, western hemlock, and Douglas fir. Trees can tower up to 90 m and can grow for more than 1500 years.
Lost Lake

Bella Coola great bear rain forest The Great Bear Rain Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rain forest left in the world. A recent agreement between the provincial government and a wide coalition of conservationists, resource workers, guide-outfitters, and First Nations established a series of conservancies stretching 400 kilometres along the coast, comprising the Great Bear Rain Forest. The protected areas now contains 18,000 km² (4.4 million acres), and another 46,900 km² (11.6 million acres) that is to be run under a management plan that is expected to ensure sustainable forest management through a system of Ecosystem Based Management (EBM).

The area is home to hundreds of animal species, including cougars, wolves, salmon, grizzly bears, and the Kermode ("spirit") bear, a unique variant of the black bear, in which one in ten cubs display a recessive white colored coat.
Shaded areas show approximate boundaries of the Great Bear Rain Forest, with Bella Coola situated near its centre!