Rainbow in British Columbia's Sacred Headwaters

Great news: Shell has withdrawn from the Sacred Headwaters, and there's now a permanent ban on gas and oil development in the region

Photo © Brian Huntington


High in the alpine meadows of northwest British Columbia, lies the Sacred Headwaters, the shared birthplace of three of North America's greatest wild salmon rivers—the Skeena, Stikine and Nass. This vast, pristine landscape, territory of the Tahltan First Nation, is home to rich populations of grizzly bears, caribou and mountain goats. It is the place where creation stories originate for First Nations like the Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Haisla and Haida.

This wilderness was once threatened by Royal Dutch Shell’s quest for profit. Shell's plan to drill and frack for coalbed methane gas in the region posed a direct threat to wild salmon, wildlife and the culture and livelihoods of First Nations and other downstream communities.

But the Tahltan Nation, the communities downstream from the Sacred Headwaters, and concerned people worldwide courageously stood up to Shell and raised their voices to the government of British Columbia. Now, this pristine region is permanently protected from Shell’s plans to devastate this wilderness, and no oil and gas development will ever happen here. Get the inside scoop on the campaign that ‘Got the Shell Out’ in our interactive timeline.

While local communities fearlessly, and tirelessly said ‘no’ to Shell’s plan, ForestEthics Advocacy and over 75,000 people added our voices to support local communities’ opposition. We are grateful that the government of British Columbia permanently protected this sacred place from oil and gas development, and stopped Shell’s destructive plans. We are now asking the British Columbia government to safeguard the Sacred Headwaters from all industrial development.

Latest News

In the last days of summer, Canadians were shocked by the worst environmental catastrophe in Canadian mining history. On August 4 over 17 million cubic meters -- equivalent to about 2000 Olympic size swimming pools -- of toxic mining waste spewed into the Hazeltine River and into Quesnel Lake, which are spawning destinations for Wild Sockeye salmon. The culprit? Nearby Imperial Metals’ in Mount Polley are mining for gold and copper and those tailings pond breached.
Fact: Peatlands (collections of peat growing together) provide a very critical service for you and me. They occur in 175 countries and for a long time were not well understood. Thus, they were widely and extensively damaged by drainage for agriculture and industrial development. But now we understand just how important peatlands are to a clean air and water.
The Sacred Headwaters: Beautiful and rich with culture and wildlife; Safe from oil and gas; Threatened by mining.
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Learn more about Sacred Headwaters

The Issue

With so much at stake, coalbed methane development was unacceptable read more...

The Facts

A few reasons why Shell’s plans didn’t add up read more...

The Solutions

We ‘Got the Shell Out’ read more...

Interactive timeline