At one time, grizzlies were widespread in North America. Due to human population growth and extensive development, including commercial forestry, coastal grizzly bear habitat has been reduced to a few increasingly isolated pockets. Clearcutting has not only devastated much of the grizzly’s habitat, but also caused erosion and silting of streambeds, thereby destroying salmon spawning grounds. This further impacts grizzly populations, as salmon are the primary source of food for grizzlies.
In the early 1970s the threat of logging in the Khutzeymateen Valley’s crucial grizzly bear habitat was first identified. Other than two small areas cut in 1950 and 1956, the forests of the Khutzeymateen were still untouched. After intense lobbying by environmentalists to prevent the loss of this important area, the Khutzeymateen Valley was designated as BC’s only grizzly bear sanctuary in 1994.