Save the Spirit Bear

Founded by Cole Matthews

Our Founder

The founder of Saving the Spirit Bear is a young 16 year old, name Cole Matthews. Cole, a former juvenile delinquent, has a very close bond with Spirit Bears, and simply could not just let them die without doing something. Cole grew up, being abused by his father, in the city of Minneapolis: "he hadn't heard of it until his latest arrest for breaking into a hardware store. After robbing the place, he totally trashed it." (6-7). Before Cole had been banished to an Alaskan Island, he was in a lot of trouble for smashing a fellow student's head into the side walk until he was severely injured, and Cole felt no remorse, but you just like Cole can take an incredible journey through the life of a spirit bear, and find out just how much nature can heal a damaged soul, Cole found that out for himself.

About Us and What We Do

The Saving the Spirit Bear program is about teaching all ages about the spirit bear in many different ways. The program will insure the safety of anyone who wants to visit the center we plan on building, to educate others about the Kermode bear, and to those who want hike about Alaska's Islands in search of the Spirit Bear. The program supports those who wish to meet a spirit bear, and those who would simply visit the center to learn about Spirit bears. If someone wanted to meet the Spirit Bear in person, we would allow tours around the islands in search of the Spirit Bears, with a trained guide of course. Our number one concern is for the participant's safety, and then of course for Spirit Bears!

This program is made to help young kids and adults alike learn about the fascinating creature, the Spirit Bear. It will teach anyone what a spirit Bear is, where they can be found, and why they need human protection. We plan to build a sanctuary for these bears, so their population may grow, since it is currently under 1,300 bears. Our goal is to help these bears to thrive, without removing them from their natural habitat.

Spirit Bears!

About the Bears

Spirit Bears are normal black and brown bears, but with a genetic difference for color, which causes their fur and claws to turn a cream, off-white color. The gene is called mc-1r, and it's recessive, meaning you have to receive the gene from both parents, to become a spirit bear. Spirit bears are extremely rare for this reason, and for the reason that native Americans that share the habitat with them protect them in ways people like us can't. They keep their locations hidden, and keep fur traders, poachers, trophy hunters, and many other threats away. In other words, they're the main protectors of the spirit, or Kermode bears. So, now that we know how others protect the bears, you're probably wondering how you can help them, well, you can donate to great foundations like Bear Life, to help protect the coasts where they live from being turned into housing developments, or logging factories. People can also protest against the Canada Pipeline, a pipeline aimed to pump 500,000 gallons of tar straight through their habitat everyday, and just a minor spill could destroy their homes in a matter of days. So, join our Save the Spirit Bear, and help to protect these amazing creatures!

Cole Matthews

Cole's Journey

Spirit Bears are magnificent creatures that can change lives, with your help! Don't believe me? Fine, then I will tell you the story of our founder, Mr. Matthews. Cole was a violent, hurt young boy, who needed help to heal properly, to avoid jail, Cole entered Circle Justice, where his new crime would be banishment for a year. On the Island, he tried to escape, and barely made it back to the island, which made him angry. He also kept seeing the mysterious spirit bear, which also angered him. Then, he decided to kill the Spirit Bear, and it almost cost him his life, after the bear mauled him out of self defense, "He wanted to live. In death there was no control, no anger, no one to blame, no choices, no nothing. To be alive was to have choice." (83). Laying there, dying, Cole realized his life meant nothing, and from that moment on, he aimed to change that, to mean something was to make a difference in the world, and this program is that difference.

Spirit Bears Can Change Lives!

During Cole's immobile days on the island, he ate whatever came his way, from worms to mice, he ate it all. He of course did this out of survival, but during these days there was one thing that stayed with him the most, the Spirit Bear, like why it didn't kill him, or why it kept coming back to stare at him: "This bear had defied him, and he had hated it with every fiber of his existence. Still touching the bear, Cole paused. Then he drew his hand away. . . Only when Cole's hand again rested on the ground, only then did the towering animal lower its huge head as if nodding." (95-96) Although it took more then touching the bear he tried to kill to change, the bear is what motivated him, and what can motivate any person at our center.
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Cole's Inspiration

"I was inspired by a chief elder I once knew named Edwin, and a boy named Peter." This was the answer we got from Cole Matthews, but when I asked him to get into detail, the answer differed from what I thought. When Cole was dropped off on the island the first time, Edwin delivered to him some incredible news, that "I will hold close to my heart for as long as I can." "Whatever you do to the animals you do to yourself. Remember that."(18) That is exactly what happened with the Spirit Bear, Cole tried to kill it, and instead it almost killed him, because of his experience with the Spirit Bear, Cole now whole-heartedly believed he could change, and he did, but not until he could help a young man, named Peter Driscoll heal. Cole knew that the Spirit Bear had helped him heal, and hoped it could also help Peter heal. The problem was that Peter didn't believe the Spirit Bear existed, or that it could help him, until, "Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, he Spirit Bear swung its massive head around and ambled away, vanishing ghostlike into the trees." (238) After that, Cole and Peter bonded over the Sprit Bear, and remain close friends to this day, so now that you know Cole's story, you are eligible to bring friends and family of all ages and join us on the British Columbia Coast, where you can meet Cole, Peter, Edwin, and maybe Garvey, another one of Cole's main inspirations, plus, the Spirit Bears, of course! Don't hesitate, plan your trip to Save the Spirit Bear's head quarters today!