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Grizzly Bear Viewing
Great Bear Lodge, voted by National Geographic Adventure as “One of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”, offers Grizzly Bear viewing on the coast of British Columbia. Accommodating a maximum of 16 guests, this charming floating lodge provides a wildlife biologist to lead each of its tours.
Located 50 air miles from Port Hardy, British Columbia, Great Bear Lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location. It is a place of spectacular beauty where one will still find the silence and solitude of another era. It is from this location that we operate our Grizzly Bear viewing program. This was the lodge that the BBC used as their base while filming for the series Secrets of Our Living Planet.
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Great Bear lodge offers eight bedrooms. The common area is the perfect place to relax and listen to one of the natural history presentations from our wildlife biologists. In keeping with our commitment to low-impact ecotourism, the lodge is powered by wind and solar energy. The natural wood decks that surround the lodge make a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of the scenery.
Enjoy wilderness-inspired gourmet meals when you return to the lodge from the wild outdoors. We use the freshest possible local ingredients and organic food, when it is available. A dinner might well feature freshly caught salmon that is roasted on a cedar plank with a marinade of maple syrup, mustard seeds and balsamic vinegar. If you warn us in advance, we will be happy to cater for any dietary restrictions you might have. Alongside your bear viewing sessions you can also partake in a guided activity such as an interpretive walk or a boat excursion, or alternatively, relax with a book from our extensive library.
Given that the safety of our guests is of the utmost importance to us, our viewing program is organized using the protocols developed at McNeil River State Game Sancturary on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Their management philosophy is consistent with our goal of safely viewing bears in a natural environment while eliminating or minimizing our impact on them.
Each season offers a completely different view into the world of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. A great time for photography, spring takes us down to the estuary where we can observe the grizzlies as they graze on grasses and sedges and engage in mating behaviour. Birdlife is plentiful in the spring, and the long hours of daylight ensure optimal light for photography. This is when we can view the bears from small boats, watching the them quietly. During the summer season, the grizzlies move between various habitats to optimize their feeding. We will find them grazing on estuarine grasslands, gorging on berry patches, or scouting for the early salmon. We will see our highest number of grizzly bears when they congregate at the river in autumn to take advantage of the best food source available on the coast, Pacific salmon. Watch as each bear demonstrates its own unique fishing style, from methodically checking under riverbanks with their paws to charging up the river after the salmon.
There is also the chance to view other wildlife alongside the grizzly bears, like wolves, black bears, river otters, pine martens, mink, harbour seals and bald eagles. Bear viewing areas can be reached by a boat or a bus ride from the lodge, both of which allow opportunities to spot other wildlife in the area.
A great wildlife area, the Great Bear Rainforest still hosts healthy populations of all wildlife species that were present when Captain Vancouver sailed up the coast in 1793. Roughly the size of Ireland, it has a human population of less than 17,000 outside of the town of Prince Rupert, compared to the 4.5 million who live in Ireland. It is a land of island archipelagoes and long fjords that reach back into the glacier-capped Coastal Mountain range, with very few roads. The Coastal Mountain range has isolated many wildlife populations from their conspecifics in the rest of North America, which makes the Great Bear Rainforest home to many subspecies and genetically unique populations such as the Spirit Bear or the coastal grey wolves.
We are extremely fortunate to make this amazing place our year-round home and to be able to share its wonders with you each summer.