Humpback Whale, courtesy of Laskeek Bay Conservation Society
Gray whale tail, courtesy of John Calambokidis
In 2015, the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, a citizen science program that collects sightings of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and sea turtles across the coast of B.C. for conservation-based research, noticed it was receiving a significant amount of sighting reports from land. This was surprising, due to fact that Sightings Network outreach was targeted almost entirely toward mariners and land-based whale watching was not actively promoted in B.C. Inspired by this pattern, The BC Cetacean Sightings Network teamed up with The Whale Trail to help expand the project throughout British Columbia.
After two years of working with dedicated local groups in areas known to have successful land-based whale watching opportunities, B.C. is now host to over 39 designated Whale Trail sites, marked by interpretive panels or trail markers. Every Whale Trail panel highlights local information and marine mammal species that can be spotted in the area. Additionally, the Whale Trail BC contributes to conservation-based research by prompting people to report their sightings to the Sightings Network, which is used to help track populations of marine mammals in B.C. The Whale Trail B.C. is generously supported in part by Mountain Equipment Coop, WWF Canada, Patagonia, The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, and Prince Rupert LNG with additional panels funded in local areas by individuals and organizations.
British Columbia Timeline