On February 7, 2006, the government of British Columbia granted formal protection to more than five million acres of the Great Bear Rainforest — one of NRDC's first BioGems and the home of the Spirit Bear, a rare white-colored black bear. For nearly a decade, NRDC waged an all-out campaign to win government protection of this vast coastal temperate rainforest, which also provides key habitat for abundant populations of grizzly bears, wild salmon and wolves.
In 2001, after receiving hundreds of thousands of petitions from BioGems Defenders and other activists, British Columbia officials and logging companies signed a groundbreaking accord with Canadian First Nations and environmental groups in which they committed to negotiating formal protections for the forest. When British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell did not immediately meet his obligation to ratify the conservation agreement at the close of negotiations in 2005, BioGems Defenders sent more than 25,000 messages urging him to act. NRDC will continue to work with our Canadian partners to ensure that this historic agreement is fully implemented.