In the spirit of spring cleaning, here are our top 3 practices for protecting our wilderness;
1) Low Impact Hiking - On most of our guided trips we travel in groups of 8 to 10 people. It is always important to us that even though we are a large group, we take up as little 'space' as possible. To us this means treading lightly and staying only on well used trails so not to disrupt any untouched landscapes. We also ensure that when we reach camp each day we select a designated area as small as possible and set up all of our tents, kitchen, and eating area within that space. Again, this keeps our camping 'footprint' smaller and easier to manage, and we limit the amount of terrain that could be disrupted. An added bonus is that staying close helps us all get to know eachother that much better! Following the 'leave no trace' rule means that each and every time we leave a site - whether it be an overnight stay, or a quick snack break - there is no evidence that we were ever there. We do not move rocks or pick flowers, and of course we pack out everything that we packed in.
2) Trail Clean Up - Taking it one step further from the 'leave no trace' rule, a couple of years ago we started picking up one piece of garbage from each beach on the West Coast Trail. Last year we asked our guests to do the same, and were delighted when the idea was so well received. We now implement the garbage pick up rule on each of our trips on the West Coast Trail, North Coast Trail, Rockwall Trail, and all of our custom tours. It is a very small task for each individual, but together over each season it makes a significant positive impact. This small team effort helps BCA Tours fulfill our commitment to leaving our parks in better condition each time we pass through.
3) Food Preparation - A significant aspect of our business is food! Feeding large groups of hungry hikers in the backcountry is not always easy, but with lots of planning and a little extra effort we have managed to significantly limit the amount of waste that we create in our food preparation process. For starters, before each trip we prepare everything from scratch, in large batches and then dehydrate and package for hiking. Though more time consuming, this process allows us to not only provide much more nutritious meals, but also to create much less waste versus using store bought pre-packaged meals which are often individually packaged to serve one or two people. Additionally, cooking this way allows us to shop locally and seasonally more often, which is another one of our favourite ways to encourage sustainability!
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more – Lord Byron