Imagine a place where there are no roads, and instead people travel by water. A place where bears and wolves roam the land, while killer and humpback whales swim around the sea. This place, the Great Bear Rainforest, is home to communities whose cultures stretch back many millennia on this coast. This intact temperate rainforest is punctuated by mountains and fjords, and strewn with hundreds of islands along the western coast of British Columbia. Today, ecotourism is one of the leading elements of the emerging conservation economy in the Great Bear Rainforest and 1% member Maple Leaf Adventures has been leading the way since the early 1990s.
Tour companies in the region, like Maple Leaf Adventures, take small groups of guests for multi-day trips by boat among the fjords and islands. Bear viewing and whale watching with expert guides are key features, as is walking the rainforest and learning about the area’s natural and cultural history. This area is so rich with wildlife because of all the work conservation organizations do. Conservation focused businesses and scientists have a symbiotic relationship, because conserved areas allow ecotourism to bloom. At the same time, conservation groups benefit when coastal businesses can generate incomes without clear-cut logging, mining or otherwise destroying the Great Bear Rainforest.
One of the most instrumental organizations in this effort is 1% recipient Raincoast Conservation Foundation, which has made some substantial scientific discoveries regarding the Great Bear Rainforest. They have done research on the salmon-eating, ocean-swimming wolves of the area, the abundance of marine mammals in its waters, the discovery of hundreds of salmon spawning streams, and much more. Raincoast scientists are willing to meet Maple Leaf guests in the field and take time to discuss their research. Maple Leaf (and many of their guests) donate money to support the scientific, education, and policy work Raincoast does, along with its advocacy work.
Connections, like the one between Maple Leaf and Raincoast, are very important to this region because they help protect the land from potentially detrimental projects. There is a proposal to run massive oil tankers through the treacherous waters of the Great Bear Rainforest to “more easily” transport tar sands oil from northern Alberta to Asia. It is essential to the region that this does not happen because of the high likelihood of an oil spill that could be much worse than even the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.
By signing up for a trip with Maple Leaf Adventures, you are helping Raincoast document what is at stake on this beautiful coast, educate the public, and evaluate and intervene in the process for this proposal! For every person who books selected* adventures from now until April 30th through 1% for the Planet, Maple Leaf will donate an additional $400 to Raincoast**! How can you say no to the possibility of seeing a bear in the Great Bear Rainforest or spectacular whales in Haida Gwaii?