Klemtu © Charlie Short
In the recent past, the north coast and central coast communities depended primarily on logging and fishing industries. Today, the economy is becoming more diversified, with a focus on tourism and other sectors.
Approximately 18,000 people live in the Great Bear Rainforest. Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Wuikinuxv, Shearwater, Klemtu, Hartley Bay and Prince Rupert are the main communities, all of which can be reached by boat or airplane. Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Shearwater and Klemtu are also served by B.C. Ferries. Bella Coola and Prince Rupert are the only communities accessible by road.
Over centuries, the diversity of the life supported by the coastal and marine environments allowed complex and culturally-rich societies to develop. For the majority of First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest, their culture relies on a close connection with the land and sea for spiritual, economic and food-source sustenance. Extended families live and work together on the water and on the land, passing along a rich and intimate knowledge of the environment from generation to generation.