It’s been three decades since BC’s last plan to conserve the iconic grizzly bear. Now, they’ve drafted a new plan and there's less than one week left to add your voice for the grizzly's future in BC. The Provincial Government's draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework is open for public feedback until October 6th at 4PM PST.
We are continuing to push the BC Government for a meaningful extension, but it remains uncertain. For those who have time now, we urge you to add your voice through the feedback questionnaire or a letter to government. We've provided some resources below to help you through the process.
What is the Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework?
The Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework is the first document of its kind in British Columbia, and has the potential to be world-leading in setting an example for how wildlife stewardship should be done. The Framework is “intended to provide guidance for the consideration of grizzly bear values for proponents, decision makers, and participants on initiatives related to land and resource planning to inform local decisions, and enables amendments to policy, legislation, and programs related to grizzly bears.” The Framework will support the preparation of regional grizzly bear stewardship plans.
What is the Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy?
The Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy provides guidance and recommendations for bear viewing throughout the province. The strategy includes guidance for viewing bears in a way that reduces viewer’s influence on bears and the development of area-based viewing plans to ensure a healthy and sustainable wildlife tourism industry in British Columbia.
The BC Government is gathering public feedback on the draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and the Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy through two online questionnaires, which can be accessed online until October 6, 2023 at 4PM.
Here are three steps you can take to support grizzly bear stewardship:
We have prepared some resources for you to take action and use your voice. In the "Survey Guide" below, we have provided our answers to the survey questions to offer guidance, if needed. Unique responses are important and your voice matters. Please choose what resonates with you and try to respond in your own words.
The Province of B.C.’s Draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and Draft Commercial Bear Viewing Strategy are a long time coming. The current policy for grizzly bear management dates back to 1995! In 2017 the Auditor General recognized that “there is no plan to implement the strategic direction for grizzly bears in B.C.” and recommended creating and implementing a grizzly bear management plan.
Six years later, promising progress has been made for grizzly bears, as evident in the shift in the document’s title. The process has moved away from the term “management” and towards “stewardship,” thanks to the perspective and input of Indigenous leadership. (Read more about the problems with Wildlife Management here).
This once-a-generation opportunity could create a world-leading plan for wildlife stewardship. But more still needs to be done to strengthen the stewardship of grizzly bears and their habitats and promote a healthy and sustainable commercial bear-viewing industry. Together we can carve the path forward for the grizzlies in B.C. in an innovative, inclusive and effective way, accurately reflecting the values of B.C. residents and First Nations.
The Grizzly Bear Foundation was involved in the initial stages of review of the Framework and Strategy, where we provided comments and suggestions. We consulted Indigenous leaders and members of our Research Advisory Committee to provide additional comments for us to include in our review.
A number of our collective suggestions were incorporated into the most recent draft, however we continue to push for areas where we think the document still misses the mark. This is where your support is needed so we can continue to advocate for grizzly bears long term. Please donate to our efforts today and directly contribute to advancing policy and ecotourism opportunities that further the welfare and conservation of the grizzly bear.
BANNER PHOTO by JOHN E. MARRIOTT