On September 15, 2021, Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound became Canada’s 19th UNESCO Biosphere Region.
That means the entire Howe Sound watershed (including the Town of Gibsons) has been given worldwide recognition as an area of importance by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and is a zone of global ecological significance.
The Biosphere Region, located on the territories of the Coast Salish people, covers a 218,723-hectare swath of land and sea encompassing the entire Howe Sound watershed. Its zoning boundaries begin near Point Atkinson (Sḵ’íw̓itsut) in West Vancouver, running north to Black Tusk (T’eḵt’aḵmúy̓in tl’a In7iny̓áx̱a7en) near Whistler, and as far west as Gower Point on the Sunshine Coast. The core protected area traverses five BC Provincial Parks, one BC Provincial Conservancy, and several marine refuges. Download map here.
The prestigious designation is meant to encourage sustainable development within the region, and to identify the biosphere as a place of learning, science, research and restoration.