Living in Alberta I found myself hearing a lot from both sides of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project. I quickly realized that I didn't know anything about one of the most controversial aspects of the issue. The Canadian west coast is home to the Great Bear Rainforest which is one of the largest remaining temperate rainforests in the world and it is at the center of the Northern Gateway debate because the proposed pipeline would carry bitumen from Alberta's tarsands to be loaded onto tankers which, before crossing the Pacific to deliver the oil to Asia, would have to navigate the narrow ocean passageways which twist through the rainforest. Those who support the pipeline say that it is the best way to get Alberta's large oil reserves to key markets in Asia. Those against the project worry that the narrow channels and dangerous weather could cause tankers to sink, spilling their oil in one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. After talking to two of my best friends, Spencer Taft and Daniel Robb, about the controversy we all realized that we wanted to know more about the area. Keen for an adventure, we packed up our gear and headed west to spend nine days kayaking through the rainforest.
University of Calgary Outdoor Center