Canada’s Grande Finale for 2017? …World Heritage & Sustainable Development

Media Release, For Immediate Release
October 30, 2017

“Let’s Be A Great Nation & Envy of All’
Non-Profits Call For Grande Finale to 2017

[CEDAR, BC] – Two non-profit organizations have approached federal, provincial and local BC politicians as 2017 comes to an end, urging a Grande Finale that will leave a legacy for Canada, and benefit the 2067 generation.

“Let’s stand up for ourselves and be great!” writes Laurie Gourlay. “We are approaching you as our representatives to champion the spirit and strength that is British Columbia, and Canada…calling upon you to provide leadership and commitment to the very best our province and country has to offer.”

Timely, with Canada’s 150th birthday ending, the non-profits note that the 30th anniversary of the Brundtland Report is December 11th, of particular importance given Canada’s contribution to international diplomacy and the deliberations which led to sustainable development globally. And with the 10th anniversary of UNDRIP just passed on September 13th, a new relationship with indigenous peoples and First Nations resonates with promise in BC and across Canada.

“Each generation is entitled to the interest on the natural capital, but the principal should be handed on unimpaired,” Gourlay quotes from remarks by the Canadian Conservation Commission in 1915. “As Canadians we’ve always believed that we have an obligation to leave something of ourselves, and the world we live in, for those who come after,” says Gourlay. “And today we’re suggesting Canadian principles, and practices that protect this rich and prosperous land, should be celebrated before this year is out.”

“Canada is a great nation and the envy of the world,” Gourlay adds. “Our past investments in the World Commission on Environment and Development, in the mid-80’s, immediately come to mind …along with some 40 new World Heritage Site contenders from across the country who are presently aspiring to the ‘outstanding universal values’ of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site program.”

“In your Constituency, and across our great province and country, please consider and support our legacy, and future,” the non-profits suggest. “And please consider support for UNESCO, and our cultural and natural World Heritage by protecting those places which inspire and represent the best we have in this beautiful and diverse nation.”

And, without actually saying so, the letter indirectly refers to the work of the two sister organizations, the V.I. and Coast Conservation Society, and the Salish Sea Trust*. Over the past five years VICCS has encouraged December 11th, the day the United Nations formally received the Brundtland Report, to be recognized as a ‘Day For Our Common Future’.

The Government of British Columbia and some two-dozen local governments have signed on since, and are again being approached this year. The non-profit Salish Sea Trust presently has an application under consideration for the Salish Sea to be recognized as a World Heritage Site, as well as a House of Commons UNESCO Petition gathering signatures for presentation to Parliament.

“We can do it all if we try, if we have the will,” says Gourlay. “Thirty years after ‘Our Common Future’ provided a guide to balance our economic and environmental goals, and a hundred years after the Conservation Commission reminded us not to touch the principal, we should be taking inventory – asking ourselves what our legacy will be, what inheritance will we leave for Canadians to celebrate on their 200th birthday?”

– 30 –

Further information:
Laurie Gourlay
President of the V.I. and Coast Conservation Society
Interim Director, Salish Sea Trust

*<> , and

Salish Sea Trust & VICCS, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1
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Salish Sea House of Commons Petition E-1269

Canadians have a chance, right now, to remind Parliament and politicians of the need to take positive initiatives to protect the Salish Sea …its cultural and natural values, its beauty and diversity, its indigenous and World Heritage, it’s economic and environmental potential.

Please Sign.
Salish Sea House of Commons Petition E-1269


If you agree please sign House of Commons Petition E-1269, to support the Salish Sea World Heritage Site application:

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have questions …and go to our new website for additional background and Petition information <>

Salish Sea Trust, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1;                      <> (

Bold moves needed to preserve the Salish Sea

OpEd Salish Sea – Bold Moves Needed T-C LG j717

Comment: Bold moves needed to preserve the Salish Sea

Laurie Gourlay / Times Colonist

January 7, 2017 12:37 AM

Even if twinning the Kinder-Morgan pipeline doesn’t go ahead, the Salish Sea will not be saved — unless something bold, principled and practical is done, and soon.

The endangered southern resident Orca whales, the depleting fisheries of Puget Sound, the sewage dumps into Juan de Fuca Strait, the toxic leachates from old mineshafts and coal-storage pits along the Island’s east coast, and the plans that would see industrial sites such as an LNG plant located in Howe Sound: these all point to incremental destruction. As it stands now a long, slow death awaits the Salish Sea.

To save the Salish Sea we need a concerted effort: an expert commission to co-ordinate trans-boundary planning and consultations, address plans for climate change, fisheries and aquaculture, and ensure the protection of coastal habitat and marine ecosystems.

If we were smart, thinking long-term, we’d be asking federal and provincial leaders what they’re doing to protect the health of the Salish Sea and the ecosystems we’re dependent upon.

Our premier believes that B.C. will receive more than half of the $1.5 billion the feds just committed to marine protection for the country over the next five years. We could politely ask for at least half of our West Coast share to go to saving the health, habitat and biodiversity of the Salish Sea, especially as we’re being asked to bear the brunt of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic.

Over the past dozen years and more, we’ve lost our Navigable Waters Act, fisheries protections, and commitment to environmental-assessment policies and procedures. And one wonders about the remaining regulations when monitoring and enforcement are in such a threadbare state these days.

This as the U.S. and State of Washington commit another $600 million to the health and restoration of Puget Sound, and create a federal task force for their half of the Salish Sea

with similar mandate to that of the International Joint Commission, which oversees the Great Lakes.

Identifying the existing and potential uses appropriate to ecosystem and local needs, the province of B.C. signed a less-auspicious but nonetheless important agreement with First Nations of the mid and north coast in July. That raises the question: Why no similar consultations, stakeholder meetings, commissions and blue-ribbon panels considering how best to protect the health of our Salish Sea?

In September, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a new national plan to protect our country’s marine areas. To be shared over five years, along all of Canada’s 200,000-kilometre coastline, the $81-million commitment is presumably part of the $1.5-billion November announcement by the prime minister. That suggests that only 5.4 per cent will be directed to marine protected areas, with the remaining $1.19 billion for marine safety and spill response.

The devil’s in the details, but you have to wonder about priorities. Right now only one per cent of the longest coastline in the world is set aside in marine protected areas. It’s great to know that there are fabulous, healthy, biodiverse and ecologically-sound places such as the Great Bear Rainforest set aside up the coast. But what about here where most of us live, work and play?

Shouldn’t there be as much of a commitment to ensuring that the vast majority of residents of the West Coast have their best interests and local environments protected?

It could be, with a 2017 legacy in mind and nominations open as of Christmas, that the Salish Sea is awaiting designation as a World Heritage Site, with all the historical, cultural and natural prestige and protections that affords. And, along with an International Joint Commission of our own, and First Nation co-management, which works so well in Washington, the Salish Sea could be the model for reconciliation and healing that Canadians are looking for.

A new year brings new hope for the future. Here on the shores of the Salish Sea, there are many good reasons to protect our homes, to save the health and biodiversity of world-class marine heritage out our back door. I can’t think of a single reason to sacrifice it.

Laurie Gourlay is interim director of the Salish Sea Trust.

Salish Sea Trust, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1

250.722.3444, <> (

Like the rainforest, Salish Sea deserves protection

Comment: Like the rainforest, Salish Sea deserves protection

Laurie Gourlay / Times Colonist

November 19, 2016 12:24 AM

As I write this, the Queen and Premier Christy Clark are in Buckingham Palace honouring the Great Bear Rainforest, recognizing its global importance within the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Environmentalist that I am, an admirer of this important legacy, I can’t help but wonder whether I will ever see this gift to the world, ever gaze upon the intertwining ecosystems where the spirit bear walks among the wild creatures and great forests of the world.

And if truth be told, I am envious, wishing for just such economic and environmental balance right here where I live, on the edge of the Salish Sea. Here, where some eight million people live and 3,000 species co-exist in the deep waters, channels and estuaries from Campbell River to Puget Sound.

I am pleased to know that mountain peaks and far-off lands are protected in B.C.’s sparsely populated coast, and I understand the need to retain representative samples of habitat and restorative pockets of untrammelled nature. I just don’t expect to go to those places very often, to see or experience this global treasure that’s the size of Ireland and which “all British Columbians have a stake in protecting.”

Forgive me, but I don’t understand why we can’t have such ecosystem-based management of our natural resources and world-class environment right here in our backyard, where the most benefits for the most people can be had at the least cost.

I’m not dissing the Queen’s recognition, nor taking issue with the efforts of all those who have worked so hard to see the Great Bear Rainforest honoured and protected. Don’t get me wrong.

I am asking why we can’t have the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy recognize the Salish Sea, the marine equivalent of the Great Bear Rainforest. The forests of the world need saving, no doubt, but so, too, do the world’s oceans need such attention and protection. Now more than ever, if we’re to believe the growing international call to recognize the challenges they face, and the care and investment needed to restore the waters of our blue planet.

Which brings me to the edge of our unique inner sea, which many rare and endangered species still call home, where the yachts of the rich and privileged mingle with the fishing boats and outboard-motor crowd. Where we all have a chance to walk the shores of a relatively healthy ecosystem, and where the promise of a global economic and environmental treasure hangs in the balance of decisions we’ll make over the next few years.

Given this chance to help determine our common future, I choose the Salish Sea as a world heritage site of such significance and importance as deserving of the recognition and protections bestowed upon the Great Bear Rainforest.

Our window on the Pacific Ocean, with all its historical, cultural and natural heritage should be healthy and protected, for the benefit of all.

Wondrous vistas and unpolluted waters should be the inheritance we leave. A wealthy and productive marine ecosystem should be our economic bottom line, where marine mammals, fish, kelp forests and clambeds thrive. We should expect to go down to the sea for an afternoon’s outing and be able to show family and visitors all the beauty and treasures that our ocean has to give. All our present and future needs can be met with the proper care and planning.

Canada’s governor general should welcome the royal family back to our shores, speak to the pride Canadians have for our environment, and formally recognize and protect the West Coast beauty, biodiversity and heritage embodied in the Salish Sea.

If we can find the will to recognize the Great Bear Rainforest, and the Queen can use her position to underline the importance of all the great forests of the world, then surely we can find a way to protect the world-class waters of the Salish Sea.

We all have a stake in our coast’s future. Let’s keep the Salish Sea healthy and protected forever, a gift to the world as Canada turns 150 years old. Let’s leave a legacy that our children and theirs will be proud of.

Laurie Gourlay is interim director of the Salish Sea Trust.

© Copyright Times Colonist



Popular Op-Ed

·       Comment: Like the rainforest, Salish Sea deserves protection

Comment: Like the rainforest, Salish Sea deserves protection

Times Colonist

And if truth be told, I am envious, wishing for just such economic and environmental balance right here where I live, on the edge of the Salish Sea.

Report on Indigenous Heritage

” …there is a desire within World Heritage to address local and Indigenous views on the inseparability of culture and nature. This presents a potential opportunity for Indigenous World Heritage proposals in Canada.” (pg 7)

” …Indigenous World Heritage sites with a coastal and/or marine component are very under-­‐represented in the Americas .The paucity of sites representing coastal and marine heritage is suggestive of potential opportunities.” (pg 13)


Please check out the report here


Government of Canada Celebrates Oceans Day and Announces Plan for Marine Conservation Targets

fisheriesNews Release Article from

June 8, 2016

Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, accompanied by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, today announced the Government of Canada’s plan to reach our marine conservation targets at the World Wildlife Fund Annual Oceans Summit.

The Ministers confirmed their strong commitment to meeting our international targets by putting in place a five point plan to achieving them. Collectively, this plan would substantially increase the number of Marine Protected Areas, protect large pristine areas, and would enable faster establishment of Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas. It is anticipated that there would be a combination of areas with no human activities and areas where activities, such as fishing, could continue as long as they do not infringe on conservation objectives.

The foundation of the approach would be engagement, consultation and transparency. Provinces and territories, Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, and fishing and other industries would be key partners in this important work.

Conservation and marine protection would be based on the best available science and Indigenous traditional knowledge. Reconciliation with Indigenous groups and respect for treaties would also be a hallmark of this approach.

Budget 2016 proposed $123.7 million over five years to support marine conservation activities. This includes the designation of new Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act and continuing work on developing new national parks and national marine conservation areas, including Lancaster Sound in Nunavut and other potential protected areas.

During the event, Shell Canada announced it has voluntarily contributed offshore rights to the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the waters of Baffin Bay, near Lancaster Sound. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has subsequently released the permits, representing an area larger than Banff National Park, to the Government of Canada, thereby facilitating an important conservation initiative.

Quick Facts

Canada would reach its national and international marine conservation targets by doing the following:

  • Finish What Was Started: Advance work already underway in areas progressing towards establishment, including the proposed Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area, and five proposed Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas:  Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs, Anguniaqvia Niqiqyuam, Laurentian Channel, St. Anns Bank and Banc des Américains;
  • Protect Pristine Areas: Establish new, large Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas in pristine offshore areas;
  • Protect Areas Under Pressure: Establish additional Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas in areas under pressure from human activities, for example where we are already advancing Marine Protected Area network development;
  • Advance Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures: Identify existing and establish new kinds of conservation measures, such as closing fisheries in waters that are home to sensitive sponges and corals; and
  • Establish Marine Protected Areas Faster: Examine how the Oceans Act can be updated to facilitate the designation process for Marine Protected Areas, without sacrificing science, or the public’s opportunity to provide input.


“Canada has the longest coastline in the world and we depend upon our oceans for a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Our Government is committed to putting forward a comprehensive plan to reach our international targets for protecting our marine and coastal areas for current and future generations. Innovative agreements like the one announced today to protect Lancaster Sound in Canada’s north show the incredible progress we can make by working collaboratively.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Canada has unparalleled ocean and freshwater resources and protecting our waters is critical to the lives and livelihoods of all Canadians. Our government is committed to preserving and expanding marine protected areas, including Lancaster Sound. In doing so, we will recognize the role of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and in the traditional use of these special places. Through collaboration, and using science and Indigenous traditional knowledge as our guide, we will achieve our government’s ambitious targets for protecting marine and coastal areas.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“Canada’s Arctic coast is a vast and dynamically changing area, steeped in culture and tradition. It also provides one of the richest marine mammal habitats in the world. The proposed Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area is an extraordinary demonstration of a serious commitment to ecologically sustainable development in the North, and to continued partnerships with Indigenous peoples: two critical elements that will help protect areas of ecological importance for generations to come. Today on behalf of all Canadians, we express our gratitude to Shell Canada for their generous contribution toward meeting Canada’s ambitious marine protection goals.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada is pleased to be able to help facilitate meaningful steps towards achieving Canada’s global marine conservation commitments. Working with government and Shell we are supporting the conservation of an area of uncommon beauty, incredible biodiversity and rich ecological importance.”

John Lounds, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy Canada

“Today’s announcement is an example of what we can achieve when government, industry and environmental organizations come together to find common ground. Contributing our Lancaster Sound permits for marine conservation is one of the ways Shell is working across sectors to balance the environment with the economy.”

Michael Crothers, Shell Canada President and Country Chair

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Backgrounder: Canada’s Plan to Reach Marine Conservation Targets

Associated Link

Photo caption: From left to right: The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs; David Miller, President of World Wildlife Fund-Canada; the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Michael Crothers, President and Country Chair of Shell Canada Ltd.; John

FAQ’s on World Heritage in Canada

World Heritage in Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

For more Frequently Asked Questions, visit:

Q: How does a Canadian heritage property become a World Heritage Site?

A: There is a four-stage process to follow for any heritage site to become a World Heritage site. Since Parks Canada is Canada’s lead agency for implementing the World Heritage Convention, it manages this process for Canada.

First, in order for a country to nominate a site as a potential World Heritage Site, it must be on the country’s Tentative List. A Tentative List is a list of properties that a country believes has good potential to meet one or more of the criteria for inscription on the World Heritage List, in addition to meeting the conditions for authenticity and/or integrity, and to ensuring that appropriate management measures are in place to protect the site’s Outstanding Universal Value in perpetuity.

Second, a detailed nomination dossier is prepared for the site according to the criteria and requirements outlined in the World Heritage Committee’s Operational Guidelines. The nomination dossier must clearly demonstrate that the site is protected and managed under Canadian (federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal) legislation and policies, that it has an appropriate plan for managing its values and that, in comparison with other similar sites around the world it has “Outstanding Universal Value”.

Third, international experts from the World Heritage Committee’s official advisory bodies evaluate the nomination, which includes a visit to the nominated site, to evaluate its heritage values, its protection and management regime, and to confirm the level of support of the various stakeholders. The experts make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.

Finally, the World Heritage Committee makes a decision on the nomination. It can inscribe the site on the World Heritage List, not inscribe the site on the list or send the nomination back for further information.

After being placed on the Tentative List, the process of preparing a nomination can be expected to take at least two years and may take much longer. After submission of the completed nomination, the evaluation and review process takes approximately 18 months.

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Q: What is the status of Canada’s Tentative List?

A: Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites was last updated in 2004. Countries are encouraged to update their Tentative Lists approximately every ten years, and so the Government of Canada has initiated a public process to update its Tentative List.

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Q: Are there any prerequisites for including a heritage site on Canada’s Tentative List?

A: Sites included on the Tentative List must have strong potential for inscription on the World Heritage List. In other words, sites that are included on the Tentative List must demonstrate the potential to satisfy one or more of the criteria for inscription, as well as to meet the condition(s) of authenticity and/or integrity and to have appropriate protection and management. These requirements for inscription are defined in the Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Since the formal nomination of a site will need to document that the site’s values are protected and managed under Canadian legislation and policies, that it has an appropriate plan for managing these values into the future, that it has Outstanding Universal Value in comparison with other similar sites around the world, and that there is stakeholder support for the nomination, sites proposed for inclusion on the Tentative List benefit from being able to demonstrate that these requirements can be addressed.

There is currently a public process underway to update Canada’s tentative list. More information on how to prepare and submit a formal application for consideration can be found here.

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Q: What sites currently make up Canada’s Tentative List?

A: In order to help the World Heritage Committee in evaluating potential sites, State Parties must submit a Tentative List of candidate sites that have a strong potential to meet the evaluation requirements for World Heritage site designation. As of 2016, there are six sites on Canada’s Tentative List:

  • Pimachiowin Aki, (formerly called: Atikaki/Woodland Caribou/Accord First Nations (Pimachiowin Aki), Manitoba and Ontario
  • Aisinai’pi / Writing-on-Stone, Alberta
  • Gwaii Haanas, British Columbia
  • Ivvavik/Vuntut/Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk), Yukon
  • Tr’ondëk Klondike, Yukon
  • Quttinirpaaq, Nunavut

To learn more about these sites, go to: Sites on Canada’s Tentative List

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Q: Who represents Canada in matters related to the World Heritage Convention?

A: Since 1976, the Parks Canada Agency has served as the State Party representative for Canada, given its expertise related to cultural and natural heritage.

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Q: What are Canada’s existing World Heritage Sites?

A: As of 2016, the following properties are World Heritage sites in Canada. They are listed in the order they were inscribed:

  • L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
  • Kluane/Wrangell – St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek, Yukon and British Columbia (and Alaska)
  • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
  • SGang Gwaay, British Columbia
  • Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta and Northwest Territories
  • Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Alberta and British Columbia
  • Historic District of Old Québec, Quebec
  • Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Old Town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
  • Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Alberta (and Montana)
  • Miguasha National Park, Quebec
  • Rideau Canal, Ontario
  • Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia
  • Landscape of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia
  • Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and Labrador

For more information, go to: Canadian sites on the World Heritage List


Q: Who is allowed to use the World Heritage emblem?

A: The World Heritage emblem is used to identify properties protected by the World Heritage Convention and inscribed on the official World Heritage List. It represents the universal values for which the Convention stands.

Use of the World Heritage emblem, is strictly regulated and determined by the World Heritage Committee, with guidelines for its use defined in Chapter 8 of the Operational Guidelines. Please note that before using the World Heritage emblem in any form, appropriate authorization is required. Please contact for more information regarding its use.


Backgrounder Article from parkscanada

The Tentative List is an inventory of natural and cultural heritage properties with strong potential to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. World Heritage sites are exceptional places around the world that are considered to have Outstanding Universal Value — these sites are as diverse as the Pyramids of Egypt, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and include the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and the Rideau Canal.

World Heritage Sites represents some of humanity’s most outstanding achievements and nature’s most inspiring creations. Before a site can be presented for inscription as a World Heritage Site, it must be included on a country’s tentative list.

A public process is currently underway to solicit applications for consideration for Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites. Canadians are invited to submit applications over a six-month period, ending January 27, 2017.

Applications should conform to World Heritage standards. They must demonstrate that the proposed site has potential Outstanding Universal Value – the core requirement for all sites inscribed on the World Heritage List – by satisfying one or more of ten natural and cultural criteria. They must also meet additional World Heritage requirements for integrity and authenticity, be effectively managed and protected, and enjoy broad local support.

Applications will be reviewed by an independent Ministerial Advisory Committee of Canadian experts in the fields of natural and cultural heritage. The Advisory Committee will recommend to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada those properties with strong potential for successful inscription as World Heritage Sites.

The Minister will announce Canada’s updated Tentative List for World Heritage in 2017 as part of Canada 150 celebrations.

For more information on the Ministerial Advisory Committee for the update of Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites, please refer to

The Salish Sea and the Coast Salish People

Trek & Treats acknowledges the First Nations whose traditional territory we live on, as we invite you to visit their home land.

trekandtreats1                  trekandtreats2

Tod Inlet, traditional home of the Saanich people.

The name Salish comes from the Coast Salish people, the first inhabitants of the region. It is pronounced seh-lish. Many First Nations people on both sides of the Canada-US border call the area home. The Salish Shores Discovery Trail crosses the traditional land of the Saanich villages of the Tsartlip, the Tsawout and the Tseycum First Nations, as well as the T’souke Nation in Sooke, and the Scia’new (Becher Bay) Nation in Metchosin.

We been fortunate to learn a little about this land from their stories and from their knowledge about the land and sea. We hope that our trekkers will also gain an appreciation for the story of this land and the people whose home it has always been.


 Map of the Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009

The Salish Sea encompasses nearly 16,925 square kilometres of water and 7,470 kilometres of coastline. It includes the Strait of Georgia, the Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound. The Canada-US border disects the Salish Sea and hundreds of inhabited and uninhabited islands dot the seascape on both sides of the border. The area is home to Vancouver, Seattle, and many smaller cities, towns and villages.  It is also home to rural areas, wilderness and to fragile and unique marine ecosystems.