If you’ve had the experiences of viewing wildlife in its natural environment, or walking among giant West Coast trees, you’ll know it can totally change your view of why it’s important to protect such things.
It might be seeing a pod of orcas socializing in the Salish Sea or Discovery Passage, or watching a grizzly bear forage for food.
But protecting wild areas and its inhabitants takes a concentrated effort, notes Stephen Gabrysh, co-owner of Campbell River Whale Watching Adventure Tours. They recently embarked upon a program whereby people taking their tours not only help the company to become carbon neutral and better, they’re doing their small part to preserve wild habitat for future generations.
“I think it’s important because nature really is the reason why we’re able to do what we do,” says Gabrysh, who purchased the company with Tyler Bruce last year from founder “Hurricane Jack” Springer and his partners Jen and Aaron. “Nature has given us so much, from the wildlife we view to the beautiful sights that we have all around us, it’s time that we focus on giving back to nature.”
You’ll be a partner in a global project
Wilderness International, a German-Canadian organization whose mandate is to purchase pristine forest areas for long-term protection, partners with 13 companies on its projects, including Air Canada and Campbell River Whale Watching.
The North Island partnership sees at least $1 for every tour guest go toward purchasing carbon offsets, which come in the form of Wilderness International purchasing and protecting old growth forest land. As a guest you also receive a postcard with an online code providing geo-co-ordinates of the land you helped protect. In 2018, with Campbell River Whale Watching reaching carbon neutral status, its guests protected 6,809 sq. metres of land.
Company started green trend early
Even before it began working to protect remote forests, the company was taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. By doing things like reducing paper use, collecting $1 per guest for an education and conservation fund hosted by the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association, packing guest lunches in reusable containers and ensuring their boats are as fuel efficient as possible, they obtained a silver rating from Sustainable Tourism 2030 and won a Tourism Vancouver 2018 Sustainability Award.
Take your pick of tours, help preserve nature
Whether your preference is to view whales and glimpse their power, spy grizzlies in their natural habitat along the Orford River, enjoy a smorgasbord of marine wildlife viewing or slam through the rapids of a changing tide, you’ve got choices with Campbell River Whale Watching.
Gabrysh hopes other companies follow their lead in helping preserve natural spaces. “We’re just one company, but if we can show some leadership and encourage others to do the same, the impact will be even greater.”