Maple Leaf Adventures Pivots to Save Beaches

Maple Leaf Adventures developed a project, in collaboration with the Small Ship Tour Operators Association, The Wilderness Tourism Association and Coastal First Nations, to give back to the environment that sustains their work with a marine debris shoreline clean up in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Photo by Simon Ager

Maple Leaf Adventures has been offering specialized small ship cruises highlighting the natural and cultural history of the Canadian and Alaskan coastal regions since 1986, aboard its fleet of restored classic sailing ships, tugboats and a steel-hulled expedition ship. This season COVID kept its ships on the shore.

The pandemic meant the company had to pivot its business focus in rough waters, shifting their fiscal goals and marketing efforts toward creative collaboration within the industry.

“In the midst of cancelling our entire season, we developed a project, in collaboration with the Small Ship Tour Operators Association, The Wilderness Tourism Association and Coastal First Nations, to give back to the environment that sustains our work with a marine debris shoreline clean up in the Great Bear Rainforest,” says Maureen Gordon, co-owner of Maple Leaf Adventures.

As part of the Marine Debris Removal Initiative, Maple Leaf Adventures embarked on a six-week expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest, to remove between 75 and 100 tons of marine waste. Photo by Simon Ager.

“The project reminded us how important it is for our crew and people’s lives to have such meaningful work for the coast we love, that is the lifeblood of tourism and our business.”

As part of the Marine Debris Removal Initiative — a project funded by the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy — Maple Leaf Adventures embarked on a six-week expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest, to remove between 75 and 100 tons of marine waste. This initiative provided work for a 100-plus crew and guides on nine ships, from five

B.C. ecotourism companies. “Being able to keep our crew and guides working is really important because it keeps these highly skilled people in the industry,” Gordon says.

“As an ecotourism company, we’re always focussed on replenishing the environment that gives us our livelihood. This year that means the clean up but it also means taking care of our crew, so that they’re back this fall and back next year to share the coast’s natural wonders with our guests.”

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