Tourism, Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has many communities, both large and small. Some have long and wild histories while others are relatively new, some have been populated for many years by the first people before the settlers arrived and others were built to accommodate the resource sector. Logging, mining and fishing were the reason most of these new towns were created and resource removal was the employment of the time. But now we are seeing a change, people are beginning to offer tourism opportunities and many tourists are arriving to enjoy these adventures. This is a good thing. We have not managed any of our resources very well and they are on the edge of collapse. The fish are fast disappearing, the old growth forests are almost gone and mining and the material gathered through this process is getting harder to find.
Over the last few years, the BC government has been attempting to build an LNG dream of posterity but this has proven to be a dream. Where natural gas has been tapped there are many problems, quite serious problems, fracking has been the most widely used process to get this product out of the ground and this has seriously damaged existing groundwater supplies, some people can light the water that comes out of their taps on fire. This is not good. But now there are many other countries that have already set up huge LNG projects and they are beginning to go under as getting this product out of the ground is expensive and the price has dropped severely with a glut on the market.
Now in the Pacific Northwest, we are seeing more people employed in the tourism business than in any other sector and this is a good thing. BC coastal tourism focuses on wilderness adventures and promoting the supernatural wonder that makes up our coast. Our flora, fauna, and local first nations culture are the primary attractions. Responsible ecotourism must minimize the adverse effects of human impact on our natural environment, while at the same time promoting its wonder and beauty. We are doing just that and on a grand scale, every village, town, and city on the coast is fully involved in this and there are so many adventures awaiting those who come to enjoy our coastal areas natural world.
Tourism is flourishing rapidly throughout the region. Tourists themselves are evolving, as nature, heritage, and outdoor recreational destinations gain more prominence for them. This presents both a challenge & an opportunity for both government and private operators. Ecotourism must benefit local populations economically & culturally, in order to secure incentives to protect the natural resources that create these attractions in the first place. The coastal communities are getting this, we realize that old growth forests, remote lakes, and rivers, salmon, bears and whales are all very marketable to the world, but not resources to be harvested once, but as attractions that can be sold as tourism adventures over and over. The tourists are arriving in large numbers to view what we can offer and it continues to draw more of them to our coast every year.
In an era of increased environmental awareness, and accessibility to backcountry locales, tour operators, coastal communities & local government are actively promoting our natural resources to entice this new breed of tourist. The challenge to tourism is in preserving our natural resources, while promoting them, & accommodating the many tourists drawn to our coast through this publicity.
Businesses are creating countless tourism opportunities, and local communities & governments are working alongside these businesses to promote their areas.
The Pacific Northwest is an amazing place, full of wonder, grand vistas, and friendly people. The eco-tourists are beginning to realize this and the region has become a destination of choice for those looking for wilderness adventures.
British Columbia’s coast is a premier, world-class tourist destination. This will foster economic stability while helping to preserve the remaining wilderness areas of our coast and this is a good thing.