British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, declared the "jewel in the crown" of Canada's protected areas when it was established early in 2016, will be endorsed as part of an international conservation effort when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit B.C.'s central coast during their upcoming Canadian tour.
Spectators will have a chance to glimpse the youngest royals, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, in Victoria during an official visit to B.C. and the Yukon, Canadian officials confirmed Monday after Kensington Palace released details of the visit.
However the children will remain in B.C.'s capital – and mostly out of the public eye – while Prince William and his wife, Catherine, travel to 30 events which will take them from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to a mountain biking centre in the Yukon. The couple will sail aboard a tall ship, paddle in a First Nations canoe and ride a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft during the week-long visit that begins Sept. 24.
In Bella Bella, the royal couple will experience a coastal First Nations welcome with their Heiltsuk hosts before flying over a portion of the Great Bear Rainforest, a protected area that spans 6.4 million hectares of the coast from the north of Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle. It is one of the largest intact tracts of coastal temperate rain forest in the world and an agreement signed in February between the province, environmentalists, First Nations and the forest industry ensures most of the forest will remain protected from logging.
Prince William will endorse the region as part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, which aims to support the Commonwealth's 53 members in conserving forests for future generations. Premier Christy Clark, as the political leader who concluded the agreement that wrapped up 20 years of negotiations to establish the Great Bear Rainforest, is scheduled to join the royals for the ceremonies in Bella Bella.
The family arrives in Victoria on Sept. 24 and the public will have a chance to welcome the royals at the B.C. legislature, where the couple will recognize Canadian military service by laying a wreath at the cenotaph.
In Vancouver, they will meet newly arrived Syrian refugees and tour a facility that helps new mothers with addictions care for their babies. They will also visit the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, recently reopened by the Liberal government, where they are expected to discuss the need for improving mental-health support for Canada's first responders.
In the Yukon, the couple will visit a museum in Whitehorse and a youth-arts festival before travelling to the small community of Carcross to experience the local aboriginal culture of the Tlingit/Tagish people.
On Haida Gwaii – formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands – the couple will canoe, visit the new hospital, tour ancient Haida villages and go fishing with local youth.
This is one-year-old Charlotte's first overseas tour and three-year-old George's first trip to Canada. The Duke and Duchess are expected to use Government House in Victoria as their base and the children will remain in the capital while their parents travel.
Charlotte and George will make few public appearances, although they will be present at the official arrival and departure in Victoria and will attend a children's event in Victoria. The only opportunity for the public to see the family together will be at the end of the royal tour, on Oct. 1, when the family departs from Victoria's inner harbour on a float plane.
The announcement from the palace said the couple intend to focus on celebrating Canada's First Nations communities and the country's pristine environment. The statement adds: "They have received so many wonderful messages from Canadians since the birth of their children and look forward to having the chance to introduce their young family to the country."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to take part in a number of the events during the royal tour, but officials on Monday declined to release details of his participation.