Can you talk about the relationship between Kitasoo/ Xai’xais culture, community and Spirit Bear Lodge?
Our Vision at Spirit Bear Lodge is, ‘Connect. Respect. Protect.’ This applies to the environment, the culture, the people and wildlife. Our mission or goal is to create emotional connections between people, nature and wildlife that leads to transformative change and advance social, cultural, environmental and economic revitalization for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation.
What are some of the ways in which Spirit Bear Lodge has created a sustainable tourism operation?
Spirit Bear Lodge is committed to making purchases that are beneficial to the local economy and continue to reduce waste. We purchase from BC first and have made the decision to drastically minimize our single-use plastics. Some of our efforts include:
Composting, Recycling and Waste Reduction
In the season we have our guests and staff separate all food scraps to be composted, this reduces the waste at the local landfill. We do not provide single-use water bottles or beverages to our guests and encourage all guests to bring their own reusable water bottle for the trip. All of our guests and staff use metal lunch tins that we provide to pack their lunches. Guests are provided with reusable hot beverage cups on our boats for their daily trips into the territory. We are in the process of transferring our bath products to refillable dispensers to eliminate the single-use jars. The bath products are all made on BC’s coast with thoughtful, environmentally conscious ingredients.
It is difficult to deal with waste and recycled products in a remote community therefore we provide BC wine and beer on tap rather than having to deal with wine bottles and beer cans. We work with the Klemtu public works department to deal with cardboard and recyclables. We are very cautious of our garbage disposal as we do not want to attract bears and wolves.
We have cut down on our fuel usage in our boats by limiting our arrival and departure days to two days per week. This drastically reduces our boat travel time and fuel consumption. In addition, the community of Klemtu is powered by an updated hydroelectric system.
Reduced consumption-based purchasing
We have recently phased out our gift shop to discourage consumption-based purchasing. We encourage guests to fill up on memories and support local organizations working very hard to protect all aspects of the Great Bear Rainforest instead of taking home a souvenir.
Due to the closure of Spirit Bear Lodge in 2020 we took the chance to participate in a very meaningful coastal cleanup project sponsored by the Government of BC.. Moving forward there are plans to commit time each season to ensuring our coast is getting cleaned up and taken care of.
We have also introduced a conservation fee to our programs. When guests purchase an experience with Spirit Bear Lodge they are contributing $200 per guest towards conservation efforts in the Great Bear Rainforest. The approximate $50 000 will move straight through Spirit Bear Lodge to organizations such as Spirit Bear Research, Coastal Guardian Watchmen, and Raincoast Conservation.