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Bella Coola, an isolated community at the head of inlet, 100 miles inland from the open ocean is the gateway to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, a hidden gem in the remote interior British Columbia. Here in a river valley of quite unparalleled natural beauty, flanked by jagged alpine peaks as high as 8,000 feet (2,500 metres) on one side, and rugged, sheer granite cliffs on the other, you can enjoy the natural spectacle of all 5 species of Pacific Salmon spawning, and the magnificent Grizzly Bears that come to feed on them.

There are many places in British Columbia where you can see Grizzly Bears, but what makes the Bella Coola River Valley so special is the variety of ways in which you can observe them, and how exhilarating and intimate the encounters tend to be in this natural and uncontrived setting. Whereas in other locations you tend to feel somewhat detached from the bears and their environment in elevated viewing stands, here they can be safely viewed on foot or from the comfort of a small rowing boat drifting sedately down the river. This means you see them at eye level rather than looking down on them, and being in a driftboat or on foot is that you feel as though you are part of the environment, rather than just passing through it.

The shallow, crystal clear waters of the Atnarko River team with Chum, Pink, Coho, Sockeye and Chinook Salmon, oblivious to all but the biological imperative to reproduce, and where there are salmon there are hungry Grizzly Bears, not to mention more Bald Eagles than you can count. The local river guides are incredibly knowledgeable having grown up on the rivers, and with the bears frequently encountered there, not that they pay too much attention to passing driftboats and anglers. Another unique feature of a visit to the Bella Coola River Valley is the scope for self-guided bear viewing. There are a number of elevated walking trails overlooking sections of the river where bears often fish, and with a little patience and luck you can be rewarded with some memorable sightings. The solitary road that runs through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park also offers several elevated vantage points overlooking the river and there are good viewing opportunities to be had simply by pulling over and waiting. We can also arrange for an expert local guide or bear biologist to take you out in search of bears in an offroad vehicle or on foot.

The Bella Coola Valley has much more besides wildlife to interest the discerning visitor. The local population is predominantly First Nations and just outside a nearby Nuxalk reservation there are a collection of ancient petraglyphs (pictures carved in the bedrock). Local Nuxhalk guides can provide an interpretive tour of the petraglyphs combined with traditional song and dance. While staying at the lodge you may also be lucky enough to witness a performance of traditional song and dance by the members of a local Nuxalk youth group. The area also boasts some of the best salmon fishing anywhere in North America.

Despite its remoteness Bella Coola is very accessible with regular scheduled flights from Vancouver over some of the most spectacular mountains and glaciers anywhere in the world. It can also be reached by road

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