WildHope Digital Magazine WildHope Fall 2012 : Page 32

Maple Leaf Adventures Ecotourism Before Ecotourism Was Cool Spirit Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest Photo: Kevin J. Smith / Maple Leaf Adventures Based in beautiful British Columbia, Maple Leaf Adventures offers wildlife and cultural sailing adventures aboard a 92-foot, classic sailing ship in the company of expert naturalists. Maple Leaf Adventures has received numerous awards and accolades such as National Geographic Travelers “50 Tours of a Lifetime”, Frommer’s “Canada’s 6 Best Travel Experiences”, and was recently named a finalist for Parks Canada’s National Sustainable Tourism Award. Apart from their sailing cruises, what makes them different is their dedication to supporting efforts to protect this region’s incredible natural resources. From supporting and working with conservation organiza-tions to advocating for environmental protection and educating clients about how to help, Maple Leaf Adventures goes beyond traditional ecotourism. SEEtheWILD’s Paula von Weller recently spoke to the company’s president, Kevin Smith. What kind of traveler does Maple Leaf Adventures attract? We attract adventurous spirits, people that are willing to look at their precious holiday time and say “yeah, I’d like to go to some place that’s maybe a little bit off the map and isn’t Disneyland or a Carnival cruise.” That means that right away when you get onboard you’re with a bunch of like-minded people that are up for an adventure. They understand that it might rain on them (because we’re in a rainforest after all) and that wildlife is not on a schedule or in any way contained like in a zoo and don’t perform on cue. If the Maple Leaf is able to get us out there in the best possible places then the likelihood is, if we keep our eyes open, we’re going to see what we came for. What’s your most popular trip? Probably our Great Bear Rainforest trip. It’s the area that MLA pioneered travel into. Nobody was doing 32

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