09/17/2013 12:25 EDT | Updated 11/17/2013 05:12 EST

The Great Bear Region: Canada's Ecological Treasure

Later today, I'll be travelling for the first time to British Columbia's north coast to set sail for the Great Bear Sea. Together with a group of passionate WWF supporters, I'll see firsthand this ecological treasure that WWF has been working to conserve.

We'll sail the waters of the Great Bear Sea aboard the 68-foot Island Odyssey; watching for a glimpse of at-risk humpbacks, fin and killer whales in Douglas Channel, stopping at Gribbell Island to see the rare white Spirit bear found only in the region's ancient forest, and witnessing the abundant run of wild salmon to its rivers. This is a Canadian treasure we should all embrace -- home to one of the planet's last intact coastal temperate rainforests, some of the world's most productive cold water seas, and some of its most important remaining free-flowing salmon rivers.

While I'm thrilled to see this unique part of Canada, I'm disheartened that, just as we arrive in the Great Bear, proponents of the Northern Gateway Project proposed for this region have announced a renewed push for this environmentally risky project. This, despite massive local opposition from British Columbians across the province, Coastal First Nations, coastal communities, environmental groups, scientists, economists and countless others. There are good reasons for this opposition. The Northern Gateway Project's twin pipelines would bisect the intact rainforest and bring supertankers to transport diluted bitumen through treacherous coastal inlets and waterways. An oil spill, an inevitable reality,would devastate marine and terrestrial species, ecosystems, and the livelihoods and cultures of Coastal First Nations and other communities who live here.

WWF Canada has been working in partnership with Coastal First Nations to support the Great Bear region and educate Canadians about the value of this amazing ecosystem -- showing why the pipeline must be stopped. The final decision is expected in early 2014, so please learn more about this issue and join Canadians for the Great Bear in protecting the ecosystems, livelihoods, and cultures of this special place. Do it for the people who live here and for all Canadians. Because the future of this special place depends on all of us.

Stay tuned. I'll be posting from the Great Bear (where technology permits), and upon return.