For the Good of our Wild
Take the Wild Pledge to Support Local Lives

In the beautiful expanse of Northern Vancouver Island, every step we take as responsible travellers can foster growth and support the vibrant tapestry of local life. Our journey within the Wild Pledge series continues, this time centring around the commitment not just to tread lightly and with purpose but also to lay the groundwork for local prosperity. While our last venture focused on wildlife and natural habitats, this chapter circles back to people, offering realistic tips for how we can uplift the communities we are privileged enough to visit.

What are the Benefits of Eating, Staying & Shopping Locally?

Supporting small-scale, locally-owned businesses over large international chains has a transformative power that extends far beyond our individual experiences. By channelling our spending into local hands, we not only get the opportunity to enjoy authentic and unique offerings, but we also contribute to supporting local families and fuelling local initiatives. This commitment helps sustain traditions, crafts, and services that embody the local culture, heightening our travel experiences while preserving the uniqueness of these destinations for future visitors. Not to mention, these community-centric businesses tend to operate on a smaller scale with greater efficiency, thereby causing less pollution.

Seine Boat Inn, Alert Bay

Choose Locally-Owned Accommodations & Established Campsites

Opting for locally-owned lodgings supports economic sustainability and connects you to local people. These places—be they charming all-inclusive lodges or heartwarming B&Bs—offer intimate settings where recommendations for local hidden gems easily come up in conversations. What’s more, locally-owned accommodations are typically smaller in size, which translates into less energy consumption compared to larger, traditional hotels. For nature enthusiasts, campgrounds offer a unique opportunity not just for close encounters with nature but also for growing the economies of the predominantly rural locations where they are often located. Choosing to camp often drives business to other local facilities, such as shops and eateries, spreading the benefits across the community.

Support Local Tour Companies

There’s a unique zest in learning from those whose roots run deep within the land. Local outfitters and guides, brimming with knowledge and pride for their home, provide not just tours, but narratives steeped in the essence of the North Island. Many guides and staff depend on these roles for the opportunity to work and reside in the North Island’s picturesque areas. Your patronage ensures livelihood for these locals to continue living here. 

Partake in Local History, Arts and Culture

Much like with tour companies, engaging in experiences that involve the local history and culture reinforces a circle of benefits that extends well beyond our travel experience. By visiting cultural centres, galleries, museums, and participating in cultural tours, our visit is transformed into an educational exchange, allowing for wisdom to be passed on and appreciated. Moreover, many cultural spaces often use a share of your funds to contribute to research, reconciliation, and revitalization projects.

Dine at Local Restaurants

Our island coastline is brimming with local culinary delights. Take advantage of its freshness by seeking eateries that prioritize locally sourced ingredients – helping to sustain the livelihood of farmers, fishers, and artisans. Consider immersing yourself further in the local flavours by choosing local roasteries, wineries and breweries. When dining, look for the Ocean Wise symbol signalling sustainable seafood choices and initiate conversations with staff about the journey of your meal from farm to fork. This not only supports the local economy but also deepens your appreciation for the island’s gastronomy.

Buy from Local Artists, Craftspeople, and Artisans

Vancouver Island is renowned for its passionate artists, inspired by the solitude and breathtaking landscapes they call home. Uncover unique creations in home studios, independent retailers, and chain merchants, often nestled within our rural communities. Swap the imported souvenirs for a bottle of local wine, Indigenous art, locally-smoked salmon, or handmade soap. This way you can celebrate the narrative of each piece, a practice that supports independent creators and preserves skills. 

Don’t Be Social Media Shy!

Social media is a powerful tool for advocacy, especially for small, local businesses. Share your positive encounters with local establishments and tag them. Not only does this affirm your experience, but it also amplifies the businesses’ reach, contributing to their longevity and success.

As we embark on adventures that nourish us, let us equally nourish the lives that make Northern Vancouver Island the treasure it is. When choosing local businesses to support, consider those that align with your values. This could include minority-owned businesses, enterprises with progressive environmental initiatives, those committed to accessibility, or those championing wildlife protection. Try to think of it like each dollar you spend is a vote for the Vancouver Island you want to visit. Our mindful choices of where to eat, stay, and shop weave us into the community fabric, amplifying our role from mere visitors to active participants in fostering connected, flourishing communities. This is the embodiment of the hashtag #ForTheGoodOfTheWild, a win-win approach that is rewarding for both us and the communities we visit.

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