Cross River Wilderness Centre

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Kootenay Wilderness Tours provides guests with ecologically-sensitive wilderness adventures through fun, learning, and exploring, within a heightened connection to the natural world. With a foundation in cross-cultural and First Nations teachings, we aim to connect people of all ages to the wilderness, and role model a philosophy of respect for the earth and all its inhabitants. All-inclusive activity packages challenge inspire, and empower guests to discover nature, and the world around them, through hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, backpacking, nature awareness learning activities, wilderness skills, and traditional native ceremonies. Half-week and full-week tours, lodge or teepee accommodations is available.
Member since: 21 Dec 2004

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

  • All of our food is purchased at local businesses, and the basic supplies for the running and maintenance of our mountain retreat are purchased or contracted out, when necessary, to local companies in the district.

  • We support other local small businesses as well with binders in each of our guest lodges containing helpful brochures to nearby restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions, in case guests choose to venture back out of the wilderness for a night during some free time. Furthermore, all of our certified guided river rafting and canoeing trips are contracted out to the local river guiding company.

  • We are proud to support the First Nations peoples nearby as well with contracts for all our teepee poles for our First Nations village on site, and we are underway with plans for hiring out to them as well for all of our future wild and organic meats for our all-natural home-cooked meals. Plans are also underway to offer financial support to local reserves and community-based programs through charities and volunteer work, to give something back to them for their long, hard work throughout history protecting the land we now misleadingly call "ours".

    Environmental responsibility

    • We are committed to the preservation and conservation of our wilderness in everything we do. All of our out-trips, on the water or on the mountains, are conducted in low-impact ways, and everything is left as it was when we got there, or better. We never use the same base camp twice within seven years, and where there is a trail, we follow it so as not to scar another. Often there is no trail where we go, and our certified guides teach and role-model new perspectives on walking and nature awareness when applicable.

    • Wildlife is also respected as family members, and guests are informed in what to do during an encounter so it is enjoyable, and without stress, for everyone. During our nature awareness activities and lessons, we may use a plant from Mother Earth, or wood from a tree, but it is always done with permission, ceremony, and thanks, and it is used responsibly in a meal, or educational skills project, so it's life was not wasted.

    • Our main lodge facility at our gathering place is fully self-sufficient, being powered by solar and hydro energy, and all of our rubbish is hauled off-site every week. We have also been involved with a local environmental initiative to save a nearby and delicate sub-alpine pass from being turned into a ski hill, so we, and the wildlife can continue to enjoy it responsibly. Much of our programs are devoted to minimising the negative impact of peoples' use of natural resources, through raising public awareness on conservation issues, and role-modelling respect for the Mother Earth, which gives us so much unconditionally everyday.

      Social responsibility

      • We are of Metis heritage, which in Canada means the native lineage in our blood is on the female side and not the male. We are proud of our heritage and being stepping stones in cross cultural teachings. We do our work mainly on traditional Ktunaxa (or Kootenay First Nation) land, and honour them with prayers and blessings frequently. We are also currently building relationships with them in their nearby tribal reserve, so the journey of both non-native and native peoples can learn to run more smoothly together.

      • All of our ceremonies are facilitated by our resident Native Elder, of traditional Choctaw/Cherokee descent, and are in keeping with the teachings passed down from his elders and Creator. All ceremony and teachings are authentic and done in respect, usually making this experience very touching, moving, and healing for everyone involved. When we sit in ceremony with our guests, it is not for entertainment or marketing, but in thankfulness, for our inner selves, and all of creation. All activity participation is voluntary and any costs associated with these activities are relating to the elder's expenses only and not for the specific ceremony and/or teachings which are free. These ancient perspectives and ways of living can offer many refreshing and enriching insights into our lives for today.

      • We also lend out our mountain retreat by donation, to help local community-based groups offer international cross-cultural and indigenous teaching programs and leadership training courses for local youth. The youth leaders utilize our facility to come together with their youth participants and help them mentally prepare before they depart on their journeys of discovery with other cultures around the world.

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