Bear Viewing

Whale Channel, Great Bear Rainforest

Bear viewing is a popular activity in all of the regions we visit on the BC coast; however, not surprisingly, this activity features most prominently during our spring and fall expeditions in the Great Bear Rainforest. It’s in this remarkable region of remote wilderness and vast tracts of intact coastal temperate rainforests that we encounter and have the good fortune of viewing grizzly bears, black bears, and the iconic white Spirit bear.

Generally speaking, our bear viewing activities occur either spontaneously, when we happen to encounter bears while engaged in other activities, or when we visit dedicated bear-viewing locations where we hope to see bears. For example, we often see black bears (“Taan”) in Haida Gwaii (the world’s largest subspecies of black bear) feeding on shellfish in the intertidal zone.

On the other hand, in the Great Bear Rainforest, our expeditions specifically include visiting locations where we have higher probabilities of encountering and viewing bears. In the spring, these locations include numerous spectacular estuaries where bears come to forage on grasses, sedges, and other estuarine plants. And in the fall, when wild Pacific salmon beginning moving into estuaries and rivers to spawn, we visit fiords, estuaries, and small river systems where bears come to feast on this seasonal food source. These areas include Special Management Areas and bear-viewing sites managed by local First Nations.

In all instances of bear-viewing (and wildlife viewing in general), our approach is that the bears come first. We make every effort to view and photograph from appropriate distances, and our guides carefully monitor bear behaviour for any signs of distraction or distress that our presence may be causing.

Importantly, all Outer Shores guides are bear-viewing guides, certified by the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia (CVBA). Outer Shores Expeditions has a comprehensive and site-specific Bear-Viewing Policy for our guides and guests.