British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, is known for its cities and small towns, ski slopes and parks. Frank Antoine is an elected Chief from the Bonaparte First Nation. When they actually leave, they leave with something else.
Something else is a deeper understanding of the natural world. Our own links to each other and to the land are how everything is connected. It is known as The British Columbia Effect. Evidence from the science of ecotherapy supports the idea that this phenomenon is beneficial to both our physical and mental health.
More than 200 First Nations and Indigenous communities have lived in British Columbia since time immemorial, and have known about it.
Many of the Indigenous communities in British Columbia want visitors to understand them. The BC Effect is a variety of natural spaces in the province.
British Columbia is home to almost a quarter of the world's temperate rainforests, and it's right next to downtown in Stanley Park. rainforests produce almost one-third of our oxygen, even though they account for less than 10% of the world's land area.
Kwakwaka'wakw Nation'sodi Nelson says that when he goes into the forests there is something about it that rejuvenated the spirit. He explains that when you are in the wilds of BC, you have an opportunity to let your worries go. You have an opportunity to learn from local Indigenous people.
Nelson says that the First Nations Indigenous peoples are the first to protect nature. Understanding how nature can heal and protect us is part of it.You have an opportunity to let your worries escape your body for the time that you’re here. But, more importantly, you have an opportunity to educate yourself from local Indigenous people.
-K’odi Nelson, Kwakwaka’wakw Community Leader
Scientists are starting to understand that plants can boost the immune system and lower the risk of cancer, strokes, and other ailments. Doctors are spending more time in nature to help their patients. Canada's nature prescription program can include a free pass to Canada's national parks.
Nelson says he was pleased to see that nature walks were now being prescribed for mental well-being.
Tourists want more than just a trip. We are seeing that with Indigenous tourism. They want to know more about the people and the history. Nelson says that they can provide that.
If you want to plan your own Rainforest Rejuvenation in British Columbia, you can explore the trip options below.
You will likely gain a similar perspective when visiting BC's 10 major mountain ranges, whether you are looking up to their skyward peaks or from an elevated viewpoint down to the surrounding valleys. Some of the province's mountains are covered in rainforest, others are capped by glaciers and some are dry.
There is so much to see in the province of BC, says FrankAntoine, whose nation is near the city of Kamloops. Hoodoo formations can be seen from here. Tourism is giving us the chance to showcase what's in our own backyard, because this part of BC is drier than the coast.Tourism is giving us the opportunity now to showcase what’s in our own backyard — and it’s phenomenal.
– Frank Antoine, an elected Chief from the Bonaparte First Nation (St’uxwtews)
The lesson of the wind can be used to demonstrate the importance of natural connection to many Indigenous people. It means that you are connected. You are part of something even though you don't see it. When you are in the mountains, you hear him blowing through the trees. The wind doesn't talk to you, but you listen to it.
Many Indigenous Peoples want to show visitors how unique they are. My purpose is to show my visitors what the land has to offer.
One day in the province's natural spaces can bring about The BC Effect, but a longer visit means deeper transformation. When guests are taken to see the water, mountains, and sky again, they see it in a completely different light, according toAntoine. The power of BC's nature to transform and to heal is not the view that changes.
You can explore the following options to get to BC's Mountain Magic on your trip.
There is a belt pack worn by Francine Douglas on the water.
Water is part of almost every visit to BC, whether it's floating on the ocean waves, smelling the saltiness of the Salish Sea, or watching a whale exhalation. You can go further with The BC Effect.
Water is important to the community leader from the St.F3;:lō. The people of the river, and BC's Harrison River, truly is a lifeline for Douglas's nation.To us, the waters are relatives. It’s a love story, really.
– Francine Douglas, Community Leader of the Stó:lō and Tsimshian Nations
The water is so powerful that it can move mountains and carve canyons. Douglas's people visit and pray to the water for strength in times of need, because water is a resource of many sorts. In the winter, bathing in ice-cold waters is a way to let go of pain. It is a love story.
Modern science is catching up. There are more and more studies showing the health benefits of being near water. One theory says that negative ion are abundant wherever air and water move and mix. Negative ion can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, which can help us to be more alert, and it can also increase the levels of a neurotransmitter in the body that helps reduce depression and anxiety. It is part of The BC Effect.
"So many of us are ready for visitors, ready to share our story, and talk about who we are and where we're from," says Douglas.
If you want to find the Stillness of Water in British Columbia, you should check out the Indigenous tourism operators below.