Dakota Bear Sanctuary

August 22, 2020 - April 1, 2021

The BC Alliance for Arts + Culture in collaboration with Sherry Yano (David Suzuki Foundation), Kendra Fanconi (The Only Animal), Marie Lopes (Vancouver Park Board), Lola Hawke (Sto:lo Nation), Sue Biely (Story Money Impact)

A gathering of Artists, Scientists and Forest Activists

To save a threatened forest

At Dakota Bear Sanctuary on Sunshine Coast of BC

on traditional and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people

This ancient old-growth yellow cedar forest is the winter home of the Sunshine Coast black bears. Carpeted with wild blueberry and moss, and dotted with lakes and rivers, it is a natural wonderland. Bears den in the oldest yellow cedar trees, hardened and hollow, that are valuable refuges for vulnerable pregnant bears. These forests have been a place of ecological struggle for 200 years—the stories of the ‘bleeding trees’ refer to trees cut while occupied as dens. A yellow cedar tree you can put your arms around is worth about $10,000 on the market—the oldest trees are 20X that size. How can we reframe the worth of these natural assets? The stand also is home to pre-contact stands of Culturally Modified Trees by the stewards of the land, the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people.  Despite all of these riches, the Dakota Bear Sanctuary is scheduled to be sold by our provincial government to a logging company to clear-cut in the next year. In August 2020, The Only Animal invited artists to come into the forest, learn its history and wonders, and pitch ideas to use arts to engage our citizenry to save it.

Watch this space for details!

*Funded by the Canada Council’s Sector Innovation Program



TAKE ACTION! with the Citizen Action Kit

If you are inspired by the art, if you care for the bears, if you love ancient forests, please act with us to Protect Dakota Bear Sanctuary. Click on our Citizen Action Kit and find 3 things you can do in five minutes. Sign a petition, write an email to the decision makers, connect to the forest watch groups. 
For more information, please visit our partners:

Artists in Dialogue

One of the projects to protect Dakota Bar Sanctuary was the art exhibition “Our Ancient Forests” curated by Sadira Rodrigues at Sunshine Coast Arts Centre. Meet the artist, and do a virtual tour of the exhibit in this virtual artist talkback from November 2020.


Forest Walk Through the Dakota Bear Sanctuary
By Teo Saefkow

Take a listen, in your own neighbourhood, or just in your home. (mp3 option available below).