Green Tourism 2017-04-10T19:05:33+00:00

GREEN TOURISM

At Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures our business depends on a healthy environment. “Green Tourism” is a term used to define how we operate to minimize our impact on the environment. At Kingfisher, we purchase supplies locally, buy in bulk to minimize packaging and waste, serve only Oceanwise seafood, compost food scraps, and reduce, re-use and recycle as much as we can. It not only helps us run a sustainable business, it’s simply the right thing to do.

Please explore the tabs below to learn more about what we are doing at Kingfisher and what you can do as well to minimize your impacts on the environment.

As part of our commitment to sustainable tourism, Kingfisher was assessed by Green Tourism Canada as a way to continually improve our sustainability. After being reviewed on 60 criteria in 11 categories, Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures was recognized with Gold Certification in March 2015 and after being reassessed was again recognized with Gold Certification in February 2017.

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Be Whale Wise

Responsible viewing of wildlife is paramount on all of our tours. We follow the Be Whale Wise Marine Mammal viewing guidelines and are founding members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA).

Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is the current president of NIMMSA. It is our belief that responsible wildlife viewing starts with having realistic expectations. We avoid using imagery of whales in close proximity to our guests, closer than the Be Whale Wise guidelines. While this may occur at the whim of the animals, please don’t expect that this is a regular occurrence. They are wild creatures and need their space. We follow wildlife viewing protocols that treat the animals with respect, and work towards minimizing our impacts on their behaviour. This includes keeping a safe distance, being conscious of their travel patterns, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress.

We have some basic rules around camp to ensure we do not habituate animals to our presence: no feeding wildlife, no food in your tents, food is securely stored, and we keep a clean camp. Your guides review these with you prior to the trip and tailor the message based on your trip’s location and species likely encountered.

At times of the year or in areas that do not see many people, such as the Great Bear Rainforest and Gwaii Haanas National Park, we keep a log of our whale sighting and provide these to the Cetacean Sightings Network. Other notable wildlife sighting, such as sea otters in new areas, rarely seen species, or introduced species in critical habitat (like raccoons or rats on an isolated island or bird colony) are also recorded and passed on to the appropriate agencies.

Doing what is right for the environment is not a simple thing to do, as an individual or as a company. It is the result of dozens, if not hundreds of decisions. Below are some of things we do to ensure we are being eco-friendly.

  • We minimize office paper use.
    • For the past five years all customer correspondence, guest handbooks, medical forms, and invoicing had been done electronically (unless a customer specifically requests otherwise)
    • In January 2015 we discontinued our printed brochure and it is now available as a PDF upon request from our website
    • When office paper use is unavoidable we use recycled or FSC-certified paper
    • Our business cards were manufactured using wind power, from recycled, chlorine-free paper and are 100% recyclable
  • At our Port McNeill operations centre have an on-demand hot water system
  • We use LED lighting in our office and LED and CFL lighting in our staff housing
  • We use cold water and biodegradable phosphate-free detergents for laundry
  • We use cold water and biodegradable phosphate-free soaps for gear cleaning
  • We use unbleached toilet paper made with recycled post-consumer fibre wrapped in paper instead of plastic
  • We vermi-compost our base camp food waste
  • We use a comprehensive “Purchasing Considerations” checklist to ensure we are sourcing our supplies appropriately. View the Purchasing Considerations tab above to learn more
  • We track and monitor our electrical usage and fuel use for our van and water taxi transportation and look for ways to improve efficiencies
  • When viewing wildlife we follow wildlife viewing protocols that treat the animals with respect, and work towards minimizing our impacts on their behaviour. This includes keeping a safe distance, being conscious of their travel patterns, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress. View the Wildlife Viewing tab above to learn more
  • We clean up beaches. When we visit beaches that have garbage we pack out what we can in our kayaks. When unable to pack out we will collect garbage (especially Styrofoam and plastic bags) and securely pile it above the tide line and notify the appropriate agency to pick up (i.e. BC Parks and National Parks). We also participate in organized beach clean ups like the annual Robson Bight clean up coordinated by Cetus and BC Parks
  • Our kayak tours take place within traditional territories of many different BC First Nations. We respect these traditional lands and have established protocol use agreements where possible. View the Community Involvement tab above to learn more
  • We are actively involved with many community, tourism, sea kayaking, and marine mammal organizations. View the Community Involvement tab above to learn more
  • We raise awareness and encourage participation in environmentally friendly initiatives by our guests. View the What Can You Do? tab above to learn more

Food

  • When sourcing food we strive to meet the following traits when feasible:
    • Homegrown
    • Locally grown or produced
    • Ethically farmed
    • Fair trade
    • Organic
  • When purchasing food we minimize packaging, especially plastic, by using re-usable mesh produce bags and plastic totes
  • We buy in bulk to minimize packaging
  • We group orders to minimize shipping
  • We modify our menus to utilize seasonally available produce and seafood
  • As many of our guests have dietary restrictions we also source ingredients that are:
    • Gluten-free
    • Dairy-free
    • Vegan
  • We check expiry dates to minimize waste and spoilage
  • We rotate our stock, using older ingredients first, to minimize spoilage
  • At the end of the season many of the leftover non-perishable products are donated to food banks

Gear and Equipment

  • We prefer to purchase gear and equipment that is manufactured close to home. That is not always feasible, so in descending order we look for gear made in:
    • Vancouver Island
    • British Columbia
    • Canada
    • USA
    • Off-shore – When using off-shore suppliers we consider consider social, labor, and environmental practices
  • We group orders to minimize shipping
  • We look for gear with minimal packaging, especially plastic
  • We purchase durable gear
  • We purchase gear that is easy to repair – especially in the field
  • We purchase similar gear or gear with interchangeable parts to make field repair easier
  • We only supply PVC-free dry bags and PVC-free PFDs
  • When purchasing gear we also consider the gear’s end of Kingfisher tour use life:
    • Does it still have use for personal use versus tour use? If so sell or give away
    • If it is no longer usable as a whole can parts be salvaged for other uses or repairs?
    • If nothing is still usable can it be recycled?

Cleaning and Toilet Supplies

  • We use phosphate-free soaps and detergents
  • We use cold water wash detergents
  • We purchase unbleached toilet paper made with recycled post-consumer fibre wrapped in paper instead of plastic
  • We buy in bulk to minimize packaging
  • We group orders to minimize shipping

Office and Warehouse Supplies

  • We use recycled or FSC paper products
  • We use low-energy lighting, LED and CFL bulbs
  • We use Energy Star computer equipment and printers
  • We use Energy Star appliances
  • We use reusable storage containers versus single-use containers and bags when feasible

At Kingfisher we are committed to five basic principles to ensure we run a sustainable business and are “doing what is right”. Learn about each of these below and for greater insight on how we operate daily to ensure we meet these principles and to learn what you can do visit our Green Tourism page.

Doing what is right for the environment.
Our business depends on a healthy environment, so how we operate is designed to minimize our impact on the environment. We purchase supplies locally, buy in bulk to minimize packaging and waste, serve only “Ocean Wise” seafood, compost food scraps, and reduce, re-use and recycle as much as we can. It not only helps us run a sustainable business, it’s simply the right thing to do.

We are just a small part of a larger solution, so we try our best to educate our guests about issues that effect our environment. Our belief is that by role modelling a high standard of sustainable environmental and social ethics, we can make a difference.

Doing what is right for the wildlife.
Responsible viewing of wildlife is paramount on all of our tours. We follow the Be Whale Wise Marine Mammal viewing guidelines and are founding members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA). Andrew Jones, the owner of Kingfisher, is the current president of NIMMSA.

It is our belief that responsible wildlife viewing starts with having realistic expectations. We follow wildlife viewing protocols that treat the animals with respect, and work towards minimizing our impacts on their behaviour. This includes keeping a safe distance, being conscious of their travel patterns, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress.

Some tour operators show imagery of whales in close proximity to their guests, closer than the Be Whale Wise guidelines. While this may occur at the whim of the animals, please don’t expect that this is a regular occurrence. They are wild creatures and need their space.

Doing what is right for our communities.
We believe in supporting the local communities that we operate in. We purchase many of our supplies locally, use local service providers, and support other local tourism operators.

We are also actively involved with many community, tourism, sea kayaking, and marine mammal organizations. For more info visit our Community Involvement page.

Many of our kayak tours take place within traditional territories of many different BC First Nations. We respect these traditional lands and have established protocol use agreements where relevant.

Doing what is right for our staff.
We hire certified guides from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia and support them with continuing professional development.

Each season we conduct a guide training and orientation session to augment our guides training and knowledge. This includes safety protocols, guest relations, camp craft, and wildlife interpretation skills. Our guides often spend years working with our company – and we like to think it’s because we hire only the best, and then treat them right.

Doing what is right for our guests.
If we have done all of the above this comes naturally! We started Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures because of our love of the outdoors and our desire to spend as much time in it as we can. Our choices in how we run our company reflect that – in everything from our choice of equipment, to how we treat our visitors as friends rather than clients. We are driven by quality, not profits. We want the time you spend with us to become a life long memory and will help you find the kayak tour that is right for you.

We know that our guests share our love of the natural world.  Here are some ways you can reduce your impact on the environment when you join one of our tours.

Before You Leave Home

  • Set your water heater to low
  • Turn off your air conditioning/heat or change your thermostat setting
  • Turn off and unplug lights and electronics, as they can still use power when they are plugged in
  • Turn off your ice maker
  • Call to suspend your newspaper delivery

Pack Eco-consciously

  • Pack light, to reduce weight and therefore carbon emissions
  • Take advantage of the fact that we provide kayaks, tents, bedding, and dry bags, rather than bringing your own, unless you will be using them on another segment of your trip
  • Although we do provide water bottles and mugs on tour, if you have room consider packing a travel mug, reusable water bottle, and shopping bag, to reduce your use of single-use items en route
  • Pack your own toiletries in reusable travel-sized containers rather than using the miniature toiletries supplied by hotels

Transportation

  • Your travel carbon footprint varies greatly depending on how far you are travelling, how many people you are travelling with, and what form of transportation you use. To weigh out the most environmentally-friendly options, see this chart by The Union of Concerned Scientists.
  • Travelling by bus is the greenest option
  • When flying, choose to fly economy over first class and choose the most direct flight route
  • If renting a car, choose the smallest, most fuel-efficient car as possible
  • Use our RideShare page to carpool with other guests
  • Consider purchasing carbon offsets for your transportation footprint. The David Suzuki Foundation provides a good overview of carbon offsetting.  Less and Offsetters are two highly-ranked (Gold Standard-certified) organizations through which you can purchase offsets.

Your Kayak Tour

  • Ensure your review your guest handbook prior to your trip to help you prepare and pack. There are details included to help you minimize your packing, eliminate buying items you may only use once, and to ensure appropriate soaps are used. You cannot use shampoo you would use at home on our kayak tours, but we do provide biodegradable soaps for guest use.
  • Email or call us with any questions you may have that are not answered on our website or in our guest handbook
  • Pay attention at the pre-orientation meeting to ensure we are behaving in an environmentally conscientious manner in the wilderness.
  • During the kayak tour pay attention to what your guides have to say. They ensure we view wildlife in a responsible manner and that any actions we take on land or on the water are done in a way to minimize our impacts.

Invasive Species

  • To prevent the spread of invasive plants, please ensure your footwear and any personal camping gear you may be bringing has been cleaned of any mud and seeds.
  • The use and transport of watercraft, including kayaks, can spread aquatic invasive species in coastal areas. If you are bringing your own kayak on one of our tours please inspect and clean your boat and ensure all bilge water is drained. If possible, rinse your boat and equipment that normally gets wet with hot tap water (greater than 50°C), or dry your boat and equipment in the sun for at least 5 days before transporting them to another body of water.

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures Kayak Tours