Our Most Notable Accomplishments

Beginning in 1972 and then carrying on to this day over four decades, our various enterprises have channeled several million tourism dollars into the Canadian Far North. We are proud that we have done so in a manner that has taken little away from the land, having barely depleting our natural resources; and leaving as little footprint as possible. Our highly ethical approach to tourism and land/water/resource use as we continue to play an instrumental role in the development of cultural & eco-tourism. Our ongoing lobbying for the protection of wildlife and critical wildlife areas in the Canadian Arctic & sub-Arctic has also afforded us much distinguished media attention & formal acknowledgments: This has helped bring notable nedia coverage and credibility to Northern tourism and its many conservation issues.

A list of our most notable media and guiding accomplishments over nearly four decades of remote mainland Arctic field operations is as follows:

-1975-77:  Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures (then Lynx Tundra Lodge) facilitated, guided & outfitted with watercraft  Dr. Bryan Gordon and his family & team for his extensive archeological dig in the upper Thelon area.  This resulted with acknowledgments in the educational archeological book ‘People of Sunlight-People of Starlight‘ [ISBN #0-660-15963-5}.

1984:Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures (then East Wind) successfully organized, facilitated and guided with formal acknowledgments journalist Dave Nimmer of WCCO – affiliate of the CBS Evening News in Minneapolis, MN, USA for a five-part TV human-interest documentary on the Barrenlands, aired on CBS in March, 1985.

-1984: Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures (then East Wind) successfully guided author Dan Crapen, Sr., resulting with formal acknowledgment in his book Wilderness North’ [ISBN #0-932985-00-9].

-1987: Commissioned by the Government of the NWT, Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures (then East Wind Arctic Tours) successfully organized, outfitted and led a special tour to the Thelon Sanctuary, Nahanni National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park for key members of the Canadian Consulate General, including the then Director General of External Affairs – Mr. Garrett Lambert.

-1989: In conjunction with the Prince Of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Great Canadian (then East Wind Arctic Tours) successfully organized, outfitted and guided the United Nations UNESCO team to Virginia Falls in Nahanni National Park.

1989: We successfully organized, facilitated and guided TV producer Jerry McKinnis of ESPN, resulting in formal acknowledgment of the three-part TV program – The Fishin’ Hole.

-1989: We successfully initiated, organized, outfitted & guided with formal acknowledgment the first of three special Thelon Sanctuary biological research expeditions called Project Oasis in conjunction with David Pelly & biologist Judith Kennedy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

-1990-91: We were formally recognized by the Canadian Green Consumer Guide as one of the top five  environmentally-conscious tourism operators in Canada [ISBN not available].

-1990-91: We became affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund Canada, by donating 25.00 per client booked on all of our trips, and carried the WWF panda logo on our literature for two years.

1991: We trained and outfitted Maxwell Finkelstein of the federal Canadian Heritage River Secretariat for the Thelon River area, and then we successfully organized, outfitted the expedition that led into the Thelon Rivers’ designation as a Canadian Heritage River.

1991: We successfully organized, outfitted and guided Ontario film crew Eric & Brenda Beck with formal acknowledgment in the documentary film – ‘When Time & Light Stand Still’.

-1994: We successfully facilitated, outfitted & guided author / photographer George Lepp with formal acknowledgment of the special Outdoor Photographer magazine article – ‘Dance with the Caribou’ [ISBN not available].

1996: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted film producer John Howe from KUED-TV, an affiliate of PBS in Salt Lake City, Utah – resulting in production of & formal acknowledgment in the nature documentary The Snow Wolves‘, aired on PBS in the USA in 1997.

-1996:Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures successfully organized, guided and outfitted writer Ted Keresote, editor of the ‘Ecowatch’ column in Sports Afield Magazine for a 3-week Thelon canoe expedition resulting in an article in the July 1997 issue. 

-1997: Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures successfully organized, guided and outfitted a California TV film crew resulting in formal acknowledgment in the program Wild Things TV’.

-1997: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted the (late) renowned author & nature photographer Galen Rowell on our ‘Dance with Caribou’ trips. This resulted with photos and formal acknowledgment in the World Wildlife Fund tabletop book – ‘The Living Planet’ [ISBN #0-609-60466-X] (pages 142-145 inclusive).

1998: By referral of some of our past clients – Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures was nominated and became a primary runner-up for the Conde Naste Ecotourism Award 1998.

-1999-2000: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted world-leading Photographer Art Wolfe, resulting with formal acknowledgment in the just released tabletop book – ‘The Living Wild’ [ISBN #0-9675918-0-5] (pages 79-81, 83, & 170)

2000-01: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted Japanese writer Katsuyuki Tanaka – resulting in two major Japanese magazine articles about northern lights and autumn wildlife in Men’s Ex magazine [ISBN #18677-12], and also for the Japanese equivalent of Newsweek magazine [ISBN not available].

-2000-01: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted the late author / writer Galen Rowell for his third trip with us, to obtain images for his new tabletop book: ‘North America The Beautiful’ [ISBN 1-56251-504-7] (Pages 286-293 inclusive).

-2000-01: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted Canadian author / writer Catherine Senecal to the summer caribou migration in the Thelon valley, resulting in two major publication articles published and released in the Michelin PressCatherine Senecal then went on to win the prestigious ‘Canadian Travel Commission’s Northern Lights Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism’ for best Internet Reporting, for  her article titled ‘Tales of the Tundra: Exploring NW Canada’  published in the Specialty Travel Index

– 2001: We again successfully organized, guided and outfitted the (late) renowned author & nature photographer Galen Rowell on our ‘Dance with Caribou’ trips. This resulted with photos and formal acknowledgment in the hardcover book -‘‘Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography; [ISBN #0-393-04985-X] (pages 172-179 inclusive).

-2001-02: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted author Alan Weisman & Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Jay Dickman for a two-week expedition to the Thelon, the NWT diamond fields & the native community of Lutsel K’e.  this expedition resulted in the feature magazine article Diamonds in the Wild’  as well as the editorial – published in the December 2001 issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. 

-2002-03:  Great Canadian Wilderness was nominated by client & Yukon Northerner Dr. Dave Simonson for the World Wildlife Fund International Arctic Programme Arctic Award for Linking Tourism and Conservation. The initial nomination was then backed up by other nomination letters from client/author Alan Weisman and client/photographer Lonnie Brock.

-2003-04: We successfully organized, guided and outfitted Canadian author Courtney Milne for a two-week expedition to the upper Thelon area. This trip resulted in a feature magazine article ‘Journey into the Thelon’,  published in the March 2004 PhotoLife Magazine. 

-2003-04: Great Canadian successfully organized, guided and outfitted Canadian author & Photographer team Glen & Rebecca Grambo, resulted in a feature magazine article titled ‘Autumn on the Barrengrounds’, published in the 2003-2004 winter issue of Nature Canada magazine. 

-2004:  Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided George Archibald and 15 key members of the International Crane Foundation from the US on a special ten-day tour that included – in conjunction with Brian Johns of the Canadian Wildlife Service – the whooping crane nesting area in Wood Buffalo National Park, the Upper Thelon & the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. 

-2003-04: We successfully organized, guided & outfitted Canadian Cinematographer Jeff Turner of River Roads Films, on several expeditions over 2003 and 2004 to gather footage for a major BBC nature documentary titled ‘Caribou & Wolves – the Endless Dance’ that was aired in the US on Animal Planet, and in the UK on BBC2 on a series called “The Natural World.

-2004:  Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided Annett Wolf of the Wolf Foundation of Copenhagen, Denmark to the upper Thelon for five weeks, to start her tabletop book leading to a major film production to be titled ‘The Final Chapter’. 

-2006: For the second time, Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided George Archibald and 14 key members of the International Crane Foundation from the US on a special ten-day tour that included – in conjunction with Brain Johns of the Canadian Wildlife Service – the whooping crane nesting area in Wood Buffalo National Park, the Upper Thelon & the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. 

-2006: Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided free-lance writer Martin Zeilig on our Clarke-Thelon River Expediton, resulting in a feature article published in the Edmonton Journal in October 2006.

-2008: Great Canadian organized & facilitated renowned author/photographer Vincent Munier of France to the Thelon country for two weeks in the autumn of 2008, to start his project for a National Geographic article about the Thelon Sanctuary, which will carry on in Nunavut in 2009.

-2008: Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided photographer Steve Barger and several other clients to the Thelon region between 1999 & 2005, of which 26 photos including the cover photo grace the just-released book titled ‘Caribou and the North – a Shared Future’.

-2010: On his second trip with us, Great Canadian successfully organized, facilitated & guided free-lance writer Martin Zeilig on our ‘Dance with Caribou’ Expedition in Nunavut, which resulted in a feature travel article titled Dancing with Caribou on the Treeless Plain,
published in the Winnipeg Free Press in May, 2010.

– 2011: After providing logistical insight and advice, ‘Tundra Tom’ was included as a character in a new fiction book: Jesse & Cash and the Skeletons Stash‘, about the Thelon River and the NWT; written by US author Nancy Bjornson.

What Is This Thing Called ‘Ecotourism’?

Ecotourism is a relatively new word. It was first used in Central America, defined as: “Environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations.” 

– Hector Ceballos-Lascurain (1983)

In 1991, the US based Ecotourism Society (now The International Ecotourism Society) defined it as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people.

Both these definitions include the elements of environmental conservation & education, community development and responsible travel to / from the destination, a concept that forces us to consider modes of transport. 

Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures believes in and practices the principals of eco-tourism.

Our operational philosophy is to be as unobtrusive on the land and waters as possible, and includes the teaching and applied practice of minimum-impact considerations to all of our field activities within practical and economically-viable guidelines. 

Such practices include doing what we can to minimize the use of fossil fuels for remote field access as well as during the day-to-day operations of our camps; the removal of all garbage from the field; campfires only allowed in metal fireboxes and/or below the high-water marks; prohibiting the cutting of live trees; strict ‘catch & release’ fish management, etc.

 Ideally, we try not to even leave footprints! 

During our four decades of Northern Arctic operations, we are fortunate to have located, and subsequently to offer genuine wild wolves viewing, active caribou water crossings and musk-oxen grazing ranges.

We are fortunate to be able to offer quality photography and viewing of these wild animals with a high degree of success.

Yet, in such a huge landscape as the Canadian Arctic, and with such unknown variables from season to season as wolf population densities, false-den years, changing caribou migratory routes and hunting & trapping pressures from the tree-line; the task to locate animals can often be formidable.

Once located, extreme care must be taken not to disturb them, as careless human exposure & activities can influence the behavioral patterns of wild animals and birdlife.

Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures will not endorse wildlife harassment in any form, or for any reason.

Nor will we endorse feeding or luring wildlife at any time to provide closer viewing.

Of critical importance are field practices that minimize disturbance of wildlife and bird life – the ideal wildlife encounter to us is one where we come, watch and then leave without the animals ever knowing of our presence…