Stewart-Cassier Highway

Historic Cow Bay

(Lonnie Wishart photo)

Prince Rupert

Bear Watching

Grizzly bear crossing a stream (Canadian Tourism Commission photo)

Grizzly bear crossing a stream (Canadian Tourism Commission photo)

One of Prince Rupert's most well-known and remarkable excursions entails viewing wild grizzly bears in their natural habitat in the Khutzeymateen Sanctuary, located about 28 miles northeast of the city.

Grizzly Bear Watching at Khutzeymateen

The Khutzeymateen Sanctuary, also called "Valley of the Grizzly," is the only one of its kind in Canada. The park's name is a Tsimshian First Nations word that means "sheltered place of fish and bears." Established in 1994, the park contains one of the largest populations of grizzly bears – about 50 – in British Columbia. The bears are protected from human activity and live freely, though people can observe them quietly from boats offshore.

Along the shoreline, the magnificent creatures run, play and feed on salmon, mussels, barnacles and nutritious sedge, a grass-like plant that grows in the area. Though sightings aren't guaranteed, tourists rarely return disappointed. Companies estimate a 90%-plus success rate.

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