We are so excited to announce the launch of our Coastal Caretaker program. Our Stewardship Committee has been working diligently to get this initiative off the ground. If you've been thinking about hands-on ways to create impact along the coast or if you have been involved with us for a while, this program is for you!
You might wonder what we’re talking about when we refer to Coastal Caretakers. Coastal Caretakers are individuals who strive to participate in and contribute to BC Marine Trails’ vision of preserving and protecting our marine coastline as a natural recreation paradise for all to appreciate now and in the future. We think of Coastal Caretakers as individuals and groups who give VOICE to any coastal sites they already explore or plan to explore.
Check out what we mean by giving VOICE to coastal sites:
We are essentially looking for individuals that are already heading out to coastal sites and want to leave a positive impact. This initiative is entirely self-directed and can be done with as little time available or as extensively as desired. The goal is to get more eyes on site conditions and hands on areas that may need light improvements. Coastal Caretakers’ voices extend our ability to advocate for safe marine recreation and to preserve and protect these beautiful marine gems.
Whether you’re an avid paddler, boater or coastal business that wants to partake in keeping our coastal environments safe and intact, we encourage you to get in touch so that we can tell you more about this exciting project.
Get to know our first official Coastal Caretakers
To kick off our Coastal Caretaker program, we have two awesome ambassadors joining our initiative: Nathan Slater and Hello Nature Adventure Tours.
We asked Kevin from Hello Nature a few questions to find out why this initiative resonates with his business. Take a look at some questions from the interview below.
BCMT: What makes you want to be a BC Marine Trails Coastal Caretaker?
Kevin: We’re out there every day, making use of resources that are already available. If we see something and it’s broken, we go and fix it. We see repetitive problems, like garbage piling up and want to do our part to leave places better than we found them. We love community initiatives; getting people out in the field gains the core connections to what they are learning.
BCMT: What responsibility do you think commercial operators have to caretake the places they use?
Kevin: Everyone has to start to stand up and do their part. Not just identifying the problems. Let’s get involved. Commercial operators need to do this. Lots of people in Ucluelet are doing this already. Whale watching companies offering boat transport of debris etc. Getting youth involved; inspiring youth to be conscious about what they can do environmentally. Staff also look for ways to give back in order to protect what they love. Our ethos is to make the company responsible. Commercial operators require a pristine environment to draw customers. We must take care of the places we visit. Sadly, if none of us do, who will?
BCMT: What comes to mind when you think of a Coastal Caretaker?
Kevin: Someone who monitors, is passionate about the environment and wants to make an impact back into the places they love. Make it better than it is! Somebody who wants to volunteer and stand up and do it. Communities have to take it on. This is a great program to invite business to. Environmental stewardship is always at the forefront of our Hello Nature business model. Jobs really depend on the future of our coastal environment, and access to the beautiful places.
Check out what Nathan had to say about our Coastal Caretaker program.
BCMT: What makes you want to be a Coastal Caretaker?
Nathan: I strongly believe that as recreational users of the coast, we have a duty to maintain the sites where we stay to ensure there can continue to be camping there for future groups. We are so privileged to have all of this fantastic land and seascape just outside our doors so I feel it’s important to use it (and with that comes caretaking).
BCMT: What steps do you take to minimize your environmental impact when kayaking along the coast?
Nathan: I always adhere to the low impact camping practices set forth by BCMT when kayaking on the coast. Most commonly that involves managing the items we bring in (to ensure we bring them out) and to manage our impacts on campsites. We want them to look as good, or better, than they did when we arrived! This means using established campsites when possible, making ‘no trace’ fires and dismantling improper fire rings that are present, and it means managing our human waste using either the outhouses provided or the intertidal flush.
BCMT: What do you think can be done to promote sustainable coastal recreation among kayakers and other water sports enthusiasts?
Nathan: I think education is a great first step! I often encourage people to make their first kayak trip a course so that they are starting with some understanding of the best practices.