Responsible tourism: Northern Lights and dog sledding vacation, Norway
As tourism has seen an increase in Northern Norway, particularly in winter, excursion group sizes have increased. As a result many people feel that traveling in the Arctic is becoming a victim of mass tourism which can also have a detrimental impact on the environment. As a tour operator we wanted to offer our guests something smaller, less manufactured and more intimate. We also wanted guests to learn about living in nature from those for whom it is second nature. We think the guides in Norway are exemplary in this way. Our guests can learn to value having time outdoors and bring back home the desire to be in nature on a regular basis. This can have a positive effect in many ways. Our guides offer this inspiration and their local knowledge contributes to this directly.
On a more tangible level, the camp has a minimal impact on the environment. Presently there is an electricity supply to the cabin but the amount of usage is small in comparison to a hotel. The four rooms of the cabin use electricity for lighting and for powering appliances. All other energy supplies are from renewal sources. Wood felled in the surrounding forests is the main source of energy for the lavvo tent and for the stove. Wood is sourced in a sustainable way. Water comes from the nearby stream and there is a composting toilet for waste. We will be eating locally sourced and cooked food throughout the camp to include produce such as berries, fish, meat and other vegetables – some fresh and some preserved.
Our activity providers ensure that all activities such as snow shoeing, skiing and husky dog sledding have minimum environmental impact. We work on a ‘leave no trace’ basis which is essential for all our activities. Guides are trained in order to maintain biodiversity. The use of motorised vehicles is kept to a minimum.
This community is tiny but significant for the future of the people living in the Dividalen Valley. As the Norwegian army is currently leaving its base in this region, an important economic pillar of the community may be lost forever. So the local people must find ways to bridge this gap which otherwise may see the start of migration to the surrounding towns and cities.
The community this trip supports is a young one creating a living from offering guests a unique insight into its life in the Arctic wilderness. The lead guide owns the pack of dogs and land on which we will be staying and it is his livelihood and family we will be supporting directly. It’s a brave project on his behalf despite his many years as a dog-sledder, teacher and host.
His work will have a knock-on effect in the community as other services will be required such as food supplies and local craftspeople. As we develop this unique camp location, we will be building a long-term, sustainable future for the community.
Reviews of Northern Lights and dog sledding vacation, Norway
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 04 Feb 2017 by Fran Brown
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Being caught in blizzard, the dogs were amazing!
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Learn to recognise your dogs as quick as possible.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Hard to say but would like to think so.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Surpassed expectations the experience was amazing, food was utterly fantastic the people were amazing. We're planning to do another. We were out of our comfort zone sometimes but we're extremely looked after by not just the people but the dogs! They were utterly amazing!
Tour op to respond to Q3 - 07/02/2017
Read the operator's response here:
Super pleased you enjoyed your husky sledding adventure in Norway! Thanks for the fantastic review.
We'd like to say a few words in response to your thoughts on question three. Our vacations in Norway are put together not only to give you a really high quality experience but also based on their environmental and social impact. Many of our local suppliers make a fantastic job of both, but don't always shout about it! This is partly because in Norway business and the environment must work together in harmony whatever the size of the business. This is so important particularly in the travel industry where visitors come to Norway to experience the wild, untouched nature. We find that local operators tend to keep their efforts quiet in favour of allowing guests to immerse themselves into the setting and to escape everyday life.
This is so true for this particular vacation which is tucked away in a very special spot in Arctic Norway. Here the hosts have created a fantastic reputation for offering a quality husky experience, fantastic low impact lodging and locally sourced (and much admired) cuisine. Husky expeditions can be demanding of the participants and the dogs. Therefore welfare of the dogs is paramount.
Having visited this supplier on a number of occasions, we know first-hand that the dogs are well looked after and happy! This means that the husky sledding experience is top-notch. A lot of work goes into keeping huskies happy, and again, the hosts don't always make a song and dance about it, in fact they make it look so easy! But we know that behind the scenes, it is a 24/7 job. I hope that gives you a little more insight into the environmental and social impacts of this trip.