Flourishing Wilderness and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand
As people become more aware of the impact we as humans have on the natural aspects of our planet, terms like Green Tourism, Sustainability, and Environmental Stewardship are popping up more often in Adventure Travel. Sustainable adventure tourism however is more than just a bunch of words.
At Wildcoast, acting responsibly with regard to the environment has always been a top priority.
Sharing the pristine wilderness and abundant local wildlife is our business. As such we have always taken steps to keep abreast of the best ways to protect our surroundings and ensure sustainable adventure tourism best practices are followed. This includes respecting the wildlife we have the privilege to be surrounded by.
Maintaining and Improving our Environment
We see the task of maintaining (and improving where possible) our environment as an ongoing part of our business. Importantly, we believe that the place we can have the greatest impact for a sustainable, environmentally responsible planet is where we live and work.
As a result, we have contributed to local organizations dedicated to wildlife and environmental protection for several years. However, with ongoing climate change impacts, the need for true experts to undertake important research and scientific work has never been greater.
True experts provide both scientific evidence and local knowledge to decision makers. This is necessary in order to create good policies and regulations to create a better more sustainable world.
It is for the reasons noted above that in 2019 we decided to introduce a Sustainability Fee to our tours. The funds generated by our sustainability fee are going 100% to local research, conservation and education programs. These programs aim to keep our wilderness region and the wildlife that rely on it healthy and sustainable for many years to come.
Non-profit organizations we have supported contributing to sustainable adventure tourism include:
- North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association
- Marine Education and Research Society
- Wilderness Tourism Association of BC
- The Marine Detective
- Cetus Research and Conservation Society
- BC Marine Trails
You can learn more about these organizations by clicking on them or reading this blog post.
Partnership with Wilderness International
We are very excited about our recent partnership with Wilderness International. This is a non-profit with a great goal: to protect unique wilderness areas for future generations. Since founding in 2008, with the help of schools, companies and private individuals Wilderness International has been able to purchase, register and thus legally protect 4.5 million square meters of valuable and endangered rainforest in Canada. Numerous scientific institutions support our research projects on CO2-absorbtion and biodiversity in the coastal rainforests. Starting this year we will have the option for each guest to make a donation to work towords offsetting their travel. We will also be going through an audit of our business practices to find out carbon footprint and offset.
Good Business Practices
We continue to believe that the costs related to the regular day-to-day operations of our business, such as doing whatever we can to eliminate single use plastics, recycling, using environmentally responsible products, etc. are just part of being responsible business owners. As a result, your sustainability fee does NOT go towards these items. We will continue to do these activities in accordance with our belief that doing so is common sense.
Good business practice also means improving our kayaking tours and operations each and every year. From a sustainability standpoint this includes everything from engaging as many local businesses as partners so that tourism dollars stay in the community and both educating and learning from our staff on how to do things better. We have also teamed with other sea kayak operations in British Columbia to form the Sea Kayak Tour Operators Association (SKOA). Part of SKOA’s mission is to develop best practices, share information and resources, and address impacts to our industry and the wilderness tourism industry at large.
As part of our involvement in the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC and along with other wilderness tour operators, Wildcoast developed a Wilderness Pledge for our guests. As a guest reading, abiding by, and helping others abide by these tenants also goes a long way in helping us protect the area in which we operate.