In a mist of rain along the western shores of Canada’s British Columbia, a Spirit lives in deep forest. A land so remote there are no roads, no runways, no railroad tracks. The only way to get there is with a boat small enough to hug the narrow passages inside the Inside Passage and sail 2 days north of the similarly isolated town of Bella Bella.
This area, called The Wildest Place in North America – Land of the Spirit Bear by National Geographic, is The Great Bear Rainforest. This is where First Nations’ legend speaks of how Raven the Creator turned one of every ten black bears white to remind Man of when the world was peaceful and pristine, covered with ice and snow. This is what the Gitga’at have known to protect with silence. By only speaking of “mooksgm’ol”, no word of a white bear reached beyond the Gitga’at and neighboring bands for centuries. But today, not only is their secret out but it is threatened by a Pipeline Through Paradise.
So now, we speak of Mooksgm’ol and hope. Hope that by sharing his legend, we can protect this remarkable wilderness. Hope that pieces of Earth can endure peacefully and unspoilt. Hope that we maybe so lucky to one day gaze into thick forest and see his Spirit emerge.
Leucistic black bear or Kermode Bear, Ursus americanus kermodei
Gribbell Island, Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada
Canon EOS 40D with Canon EF75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM lens
Focal length 75mm, ISO 400, Exposure 1/100 sec at f/5.0
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