Lonely Planet Writer

Prince William and Kate to visit Canada's Great Bear Rainforest as it receives special protection

A piece of temperate rainforest in Canada – home to the rare, white “spirit bear” – will be formally added to the Commonwealth’s forest conservation efforts by members of the British royal family next week.

An adult Spirit Bear is seen fishing for salmon on Gribbell Island, Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada.
An adult Spirit Bear is seen fishing for salmon on Gribbell Island, Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. Image by www.nickgarbutt.com / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will arrive in Canada this weekend along with their children for a tour of British Columbia and the Yukon. On Monday the couple will travel to the Great Bear Rainforest, the world’s largest temperate rainforest, located on the coast of British Columbia. The rainforest will be committed to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which is a network of forest conversation initiatives, involving all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on their trip to Canada in 2011.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on their trip to Canada in 2011. Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to Kermode bears, which are part of the black bear family. Some of the bears are completely white and often referred to as spirit bears, stemming from First Nations legend. The rare and beautiful bears draw many to the 32,000-square-kilometre forest in hopes of a glimpse of spirit bears and the many animals that live in the forest.

Young grizzly bear (ursidae ursus arctos) on grassy shoreline along estuary channel, Khutzeymateen Inlet of the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada.
Young grizzly bear (ursidae ursus arctos) on grassy shoreline along estuary channel, Khutzeymateen Inlet of the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. Image by MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess will arrive in Bella Bella before transferring to a float plane, where they will have an aerial tour of a section of the rainforest, before being welcomed by the Heiltsuk First Nations community. They will then head to McLoughlin Bay where the rainforest will be officially committed to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy during a ceremony. The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was created in 2015 with a goal of conserving forests throughout the commonwealth for future generations.