Spirit of the West Adventures is one for the bucket list. Not only do they kayak to some of the world’s most beautiful waters, off the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, but the company is doing their upmost to protect the places they visit. Their website is very thorough, with lots of information on all aspects of their kayaking trips in BC. Guests acknowledge and are held accountable to their company philosophies and environmental actions. These philosophies are part of the reason guests choose to kayak with Spirit of the West Adventures.
Their list of green actions is impressive; from the wood-fired hot tub at basecamp to wild salmon dinners, solar charging en route to campaign against deforestation, and nurturing relationships with First Nations groups. This company has earned the gold-level certification from Green Tourism Canada for their efforts, and are leaders in their sustainability actions.
What’s Green About Spirit of the West Adventures?
There are many ways that Spirit of the West Adventures tries to minimize their environmental impact on their kayaking trips, as well as in their general operations. Some of their major initiatives include reducing their fuel consumption and contributing to non-profit organizations like One Percent for the Planet.
While kayaking, they practice minimum impact camping in order to preserve the nature of the coast, and they abide by all whale-watching guidelines and do their best to avoid disturbing wildlife during their normal behaviour in their natural habitat.
More ways Spirit of the West Adventures reduces impact on the earth:
- Hot tub is heated with scavenged waste wood from local beaches rather than electricity.
- Use only 100% recycled, unbleached paper, and always print double sided.
- Use CFLs and LEDs, as well as natural lighting as much as possible.
- Purchase clothing and products from ethical sources (Me to We T-shirts).
- Use as much local and organic food products as possible (from local farms, fishermen and bakeries), and serve locally roasted, fair-trade organic, shade grown coffee from Aroma Specialty Coffee Roasters on Quadra Island.
- Compost all organic waste and recycle everything they possibly can.
- Use eco-friendly yard maintenance practices (native species, electric mower, rainwater collection and pesticide-free gardening practices).
- Energy-efficient washer and dryer, plus hang drying clothes.
- Low-flow shower head and taps, and low-flush toilets.
- Use only biodegradable and phosphate-free dish soaps.
- Offer free use of rechargeable batteries on trips, along with solar charging.
- Give every guest a Spirit of the West re-usable mug to use while on their trip, which encourages continued use of a travel mug once back home.
- Plan trips to maximize commuting and carpooling so fuel consumption is most efficient.
- Strong connection with the community: fundraising, loaning transport vans, giving back and staff volunteering
What’s Next for Spirit of the West Adventures?
With so much achieved so far, and a strong personal environmental philosophy, it is now a matter of continuing to lead in order to to maintain their gold award. Having some longer term goals will be a focus, such as solar PV and hot water. Green Tourism recommends they use guest feedback to understand how to solve issues like improving commuting, energy efficiency and reducing food miles even further. Connecting with guests on this level also becomes an additional mechanism for communicating all the other excellent initiatives the company has already implemented. All in all, Spirit of the West has done a great job in creating a truly sustainable business.
Learn more about this fantastic company and the great people who run it: Rick Snowdon and Breanne Quesnel.
Spirit of the West Adventures
P.O. Box 569
Quadra Island, BC
Source Article: Green Tourism Canada, December 1, 2015