The Kermode Bear is a white variant of the North American black bear and an animal of legend amongst the First Nations people, giving rise to the more familiar name ‘spirit bear’. This subspecies only survives in part of the Great Bear Rainforest in north-western British Columbia and for a chance of seeing one then a stay at Spirit Bear Lodge is essential.
The lodge is set in a magical location amongst the fjords of the west coast, surrounded by mist-clad rainforest and with access to waters teeming with wildlife – whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and, at the right time of year, leaping sockeye salmon. However, bear watching is the primary focus here, with plenty of grizzlies and black bears wandering around the forest and feeding at the water’s edge. The team of guides at the lodge is comprised of experienced naturalists, biologists, environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts and members of the local First Nations community thus giving visitors an exceptional opportunity to experience and learn about this pristine eco-system and the relationship the aboriginal peoples have with it.
Viewing takes place around a number of nearby estuaries, accessed by motor boat, whereupon bears can be seen in their natural environment. Patience is often required, however, those who wait will inevitably be well rewarded. Whilst travelling around there’s a strong chance you will see a range of marine wildlife and birdlife but even if not, the scenery is awe-inspiring in itself.
The waterfront lodge makes the most of its location with 12 comfortable rooms, all with a view out over the inlet. The large dining and lounge area – the Great Room – is where guests enjoy fantastic, locally inspired food and informal presentations and talks at the end of the day. Local art adorns the interior whilst the deck in front of the building is a simply stunning spot from which to watch for passing wildlife and take in the beautiful scenery.