Stewards of the Environment
Spirit Walker has a deep commitment to protecting the natural resources we share with visitors each summer. Not only is the Alaskan wilderness the focus of our trips, but it's where we live, work, and play.
We have a responsibility to help maintain the wildness of the beaches, forests, rivers and ocean. It's a commitment to the wildlife and the land itself, to ourselves and our neighbors, and to our guests - those who've been here already, and those who haven't visited yet. It is this environmental responsibility that drives many of our decisions as a company and greatly influences the approach we take on our trips.
Adventure Green Alaska
Spirit Walker Expeditions has been awarded a Gold-Level Certification from Adventure Green Alaska. AGA was developed to identify tourism businesses in Alaska that meet specific standards of environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
Spirit Walker Expeditions was chosen for our continued dedication to the highest levels of personal responsibility: to the community of Gustavus, the wildlife we interact with, the environment we operate in, and our strong partnership with local businesses. In 2010, Spirit Walker Expeditions was one of eight businesses statewide to be honored for our leadership in Alaska's tourism industry.
Our Approach to Trips
At Spirit Walker Expeditions, we spend a lot of time and effort developing and refining methods for minimizing our environmental impact on trips.
We have been operating many of the same trips for over twenty years, and therefore we find ourselves in the unique position of being leaders in the stewardship and protection of the wilderness areas we visit.
Here are a few of the ways we minimize our impact on trips:
- We keep group sizes small. The average group size of a Spirit Walker trip is four!
- We educate our guests, beginning at the pre-trip orientation and continuing throughout the trip, about respectful, non-intrusive wildlife viewing.
- Most of our shore-time (other than sleeping) is spent on the beach where the water will remove small traces of our use (even our footprints) and where impacts on vegetation are minimized.
- We maintain a bear-safe camp – not only for our protection but to protect the bears from becoming habituated to our presence.
- All cooking, eating, and washing occurs on the beach, in the intertidal zone. The tide will remove traces of food odors and crumbs.
- Our tent-sites are typically located in the forest above the beach, and are chosen based on the durability of the site and concealment from the view of others.
- We use game trails when we hike. If there is no trail, we disperse to avoid making trails.
- We travel quietly and under our own power, by sea kayak!
Spirit Walker Expeditions and its owners have long been supporters of local conservation efforts. We've guided board members of the Natural Resources Defense Council and members of several Alaskan conservation groups, but we've also inspired our guests to think more about the wild areas in Alaska and in their own backyards. To learn more about conservation efforts in our area, please feel free to contact us, or visit:
"We encourage our guests to participate in our Two Dollar a Day for the Tongass program. Most of our guests donate two dollars for each day of their trip with us into this Southeast Alaskan treasure. Spirit Walker Expeditions distributes those funds, along with our own donations, among Alaskan organizations that work for the conservation of the Tongass National Forest, the area in which we operate."