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The Great Bear Rainforest


The southern half of Canada's west coast is justly famous for its fabulous scenery and pitched battles to save remnants of its magnificent coniferous forest-but what about the northern half? Between Vancouver island and Alaska, the mainland BC coast winds through a 250-mile wonderland of forested islands and inlets every bit as enchanting as the southern half, but still very much as nature created it, a wonderfully complex and delicate rainforest masterpiece ten thousand years in the making. The area is one of the northern hemisphere's richest unprotected wildlife habitats, the home of Canada's largest grizzly bears as well as the rare all-white spirit or Kermode bear.

Ian and Karen McAllister, both environmental campaigners, have spent over ten years exploring, photographing and researching this once-forgotten coast. The book contains over 150 stunning colour photographs, including some of the most extraordinary images of wild bears ever seen in print, lush river valleys where grizzly bears feast on salmon, dramatic Coast Range mountaintops, exotic plants of the ancient rainforest, and some of the most magnificent coastline in Canada. With these photographs, a personable, informative commentary by Ian and Karen and environmental writer Cameron Young, and full-colour maps and drawings, this book is the first to unveil the beauty and magnificence of this unique place.

Since 1990, fourteen large rainforest valleys on the mainland coast of British Columbia have been lost to industrial logging. The publication of The Great Bear Rainforest aided Greenpeace, theSierra Club, Ian and Karen McAllister's Raincoast Preservation Society and other environmental groups successfully lobby BC's provincial government for a moratorium on grizzly-bear hunting and the protection of a large portion of the area as parkland in 2001.
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YA-Magnificent photographs and crisp prose make a powerful statement about the need to protect the largest tract of intact temperate rainforest on Earth. Until the authors embarked on their sailing odyssey from the northern border of the United States to the panhandle of Alaska, no one had undertaken an environmental inventory of the western Canadian coastline. This area is the home of the coastal grizzly bear and teems with wildlife and old-growth trees. The grizzly's dwindling numbers indicate the historic decline of natural wilderness throughout a sizable portion of the northwestern hemisphere. The authors make the case that only by protecting very large tracts of this coastline from logging and mining can the character of this environment be preserved. At first glance, this work might appear to be another coffee-table book, but its main purpose is to inform and motivate. The panoramic views, intimate shots of flora and fauna, chronicle of the social history of the area, and generous maps make this title beautiful as well as timely. It is unfortunate that the index merely lists references to locations noted in the text rather than to biological information, which would have made it more useful for research.-Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

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