At Sila Sojourns we are committed to not only minimizing our impact on the wildlands we are traveling through, but to positively influence the amount of wilderness that is preserved for future generations. Our trips are designed to be informative, about the unique natural and cultural history of the region, as well as transformative, through fostering a sense of connection to the land and our place within it. We are very concerned about the impact we, as humans, are having on the planet’s life support systems and the integrity of its wildlands, and feel that one way to ensure that there continues to be a voice FOR nature is if people continue to have profound experiences IN nature. We feel that the survival of all species, including our own, depends in part on the strength of our voices, and the depth of our love for the natural world.
We demonstrate our commitment through:
1. Adhering to leave-no-trace principles, by doing our best to leave the places we journey through in as good or better a condition than when we arrived. We recognize that a wilderness experience for many involves aesthetic considerations – camping at sites that feel pristine, and journeying through country that has not been altered by human activity, as well as environmental considerations – being able to breathe and drink clean air and water, while reveling in the silence, and natural sounds of the wilderness.
2. Our involvement with CPAWS-Yukon (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Yukon chapter). CPAWS is a national organization with 13 chapters across the country. One of CPAWS-Yukon’s main campaigns over the last 20 years has been the protection of the Peel watershed, a 75,000 sq km section of the north east Yukon. The watershed consists of 6 main headwater tributaries of the Peel, in the Yukon’s Ogilvie, Wernecke and Selwyn Muntains, and the Peel River itself in the lowlands of the Mackenzie River Valley. You can learn more about the region at www.cpawsyukon.org and www.protectpeel.ca. The campaign has turned out to be a conservation success story with 83% of the watershed being protected ! (as of August 2019), after a lengthy court battle where the issue went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in March of 2017. Jill was president of CPAWS – Yukon for ten years during the height of the campaign. As well she guided half a dozen conservation-focused trips into the Peel watershed since 2001, with conservationists, writers, photographers, and First Nations youth and elders, to help bring national and international attention to the significance of the Peel watershed. And in recent years, in addition to guiding river trips through her business she has been taking researchers as well as Yukon Parks staff into the watershed to do baseline studies which will feed into a management plan for the area.
3. Our involvement with WTAY (Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon). WTAY is a consortium of wilderness tourism operators in the territory. Jill has served on the board since it’s inception early in the ’90’s, and was vice-president for her last five years, ending in spring of 2018. Her focus was primarily on the environment and education portfolios of the association. She feels that tourism operators have a responsibility to not only look after the wilderness through which they travel and depend on for their businesses, but also be a voice for it. Jill drafted the Association’s Code of Conduct, the best practices which all members are meant to abide by, and continues to bring a conservation voice to the Association. WTAY is THE voice for wilderness tourism in the Yukon, and works closely with TIA-Yukon (Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon), and the Yukon Government’s Department of Tourism. As well, WTAY’s education commitment over the years has hosted many informative sessions on a range of topics relevant to tourism operators and the Yukon’s outdoor community.
4. We contribute a percentage of our income each year to local and national conservation groups.
5. We recognize that travel, by whatever means, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We strongly encourage our guests to purchase carbon credits to help offset the impact of the emissions their travel. One reputable Canadian company that offers this service is LESS. Let us know if you purchase carbon credits from any carbon reduction company and we will split the expense with you by reducing your trip fee by half the carbon-offset cost.
6. We adhere to the highest standard of best practices for eco-tourism, as defined by the International Ecotourism Society
“Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
1. Minimize impact.
2. Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
3. Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
4. Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
5. Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
6. Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.”
We recognize the impact tourism can have on the global environment. By offering journeys that nurture a deep connection with place we feel we can help mitigate those impacts. As winner of the SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP IN TOURISM AWARD in the 2014 YUKON TOURISM AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE and as a national finalist for the SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARD at the 2014 CANADIAN TOURISM AWARDS we have been recognized territorially and nationally for our commitment to conservation.