Ecotourism is an innovative tool to promote the conservation of wild areas.
Often misused as a catch phrase describing nature travel, ecotourism actually represents a means of protection for remote wild areas through sound and sustainable economic development. To truly be successful, ecotour operators not only tread lightly but must also set limits upon their use of the land and its resources.
Alaska Wildland Adventures supports Sustainable Travel International’s Travel Better program and offers our guests an opportunity to participate for free. Learn more by visiting our page here.
Here are some ways that Alaska Wildland Adventures promotes and practices this important concept:
Our Style of Travel
- Trips have a primary focus on visiting remote and relatively unaltered natural environments.
- We maintain a low impact on the natural environment. Use is sustainable over time without altering the resource or negatively affecting the experience for others.
- There is an educational emphasis and purposeful desire for travelers to learn about the natural and cultural history of the places we visit.
- Our tours provide direct benefit to the local economy and inhabitants, providing an incentive for community support and preservation of wild areas and wildlife habitat.
- The travel provides economic growth while protecting the natural environment. Any development is willingly subjected to limits.
- At some point, a group becomes too large to be “ecotourism.” That’s why we believe in small group travel.
For more information about sustainable tourism in Alaska, please contact The Ecotourism Society.
Alaska Wildland Adventures developed a method for evaluating and minimizing its impacts on the environment. We call this method our “Greenworks Program.” This award-winning program looks at all of our operations and administrative activities and identifies steps where our daily business practices can be modified to lessen the harm on our environment. Copies of our Greenworks Manual are distributed at industry conferences.
Company President Kirk Hoessle is a founding board member and two-term past president of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association (AWRTA). This association of small wilderness-dependent companies provides a unified voice in support of the value of the character of wild Alaska. Kirk was elected by his peers to serve on the board of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA), the official statewide trade group. As a board member he champions the importance of Alaska’s greatest asset: the pristine lands and waterways we all enjoy. Other AWA staff support their communities in a variety of ways, embodying a company spirit of contribution and positive participation.
Environmental Innovations at Kenai Backcountry Lodge
The strategic construction of a solar panel array and micro-hydro power generation system utilizes the strength of Alaska’s midnight sun and a nearby creek to lessen dependence on generators at Kenai Backcountry Lodge. The solar panels provide the vast majority of the power that charge the lodge’s battery bank, while water from the creek moves a small turbine which trickle charges the bank before returning to its natural path into Skilak Lake. The energy stored in the battery bank runs all lights and water in the kitchen, main lodge, cabins, and lodge laundry facilities. Guests are fascinated by the solar and micro-hydro system and truly appreciate the lack of generator noise that is common to most other backcountry lodges. Alaska Wildland Adventures is proud to continue working towards promoting the quiet beauty of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and all of Alaska’s wild places.
Two Dollars a Day for Conservation
We respect the decision to give philanthropically to causes you support. In addition to company donations, we suggest that our guests contribute $2 per person for each day they travel with us to be shared between local conservation groups. We sincerely thank our guests for their support in keeping Alaska wild. Read more about this program here.
Donating Pre-Tax Earnings to Environmental Organizations
Alaska Wildland Adventures understands that our greatest corporate asset is the wild character and natural beauty of Alaska. We believe it is sound business management to invest in the repair, maintenance and improvement of our environment and community, just as we invest in the improvements of our properties and equipment. To that end, AWA gives a percentage of our pre-tax earnings to local environmental and community organizations.
We also donate trips and in-kind services each year at annual fundraisers. Furthermore, each year AWA pays tens of thousands of dollars to federal and state agencies in various user fees. In many ways, just by choosing to travel with us, our guests contribute to the protection of Alaska’s wild places.
Some organizations we support:
- Adventure Green Program
- Alaska Center
- Alaska Conservation Foundation
- Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Alaska Sealife Center
- Alaska Sudan Medical Project
- Alaska Wilderness League
- Arctic Slope Community Foundation
- Audubon Alaska
- Bean’s Cafe
- Camp Fire Alaska
- Institute for Earth Education
- Kachemak Heritage Land Trust
- Kenai Watershed Forum
- National Parks Conservation Association
- Nature Conservancy of Alaska
- Northern Alaska Environmental Center
- Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance
- Sustainable Travel International
- Trustees for Alaska