What is ecotourism? It 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.
Here are some ways that Alaska Wildland Adventures promotes and practices this important concept:
- Trips have a primary focus on visiting remote and relatively unaltered natural environments.
- Our style of travel maintains a low impact on the natural environment. Use is sustainable over time without altering the resource or negatively affecting the experience.
- There is an educational emphasis and purposeful desire for travelers to learn about the natural and cultural history of the places they visit.
- Our tours provide direct benefit to the local economy and inhabitants, thereby 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 must willingly be subjected to limits.
- We also recognize that at some point, a group becomes too large to be "ecotourism." That's why we believe that smaller groups mean a bigger experience.
For more information about sustainable tourism in Alaska, please contact The Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association and 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. Hoessle 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.
Successful Hydro System at Kenai Backcountry Lodge
After three years of researching and planning, Alaska Wildland Adventures was able to lessen their dependence on generators at their remote Kenai Backcountry Lodge. The strategic construction of a hydro-electric system utilizes the power of a nearby creek. The water from the creek moves through a series of pipes and through a turbine to eventually charge the lodge's battery bank. Following its natural path, all creek water flows into Skilak Lake. The energy stored in the battery bank runs all lights and water in the kitchen, main lodge, and bathhouse as well as lodge laundry facilities. Guests are fascinated by the 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.