Sustainability at Siwash Lake
Taking care of the planet is our guiding philosophy at Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort. While crafting our world-class eco-lodge and luxury guest ranch, our main focus has always been on striving to be true stewards of the land. Since we became guardians for this precious piece of wilderness at Siwash Lake more than thirty years ago, it has been our mantra to stay in harmony with the surrounding environment. We've practiced green tourism for more than two decades.
While drawing inspiration from Nature and the ancestral culture of the area, our luxury resort has grown with the land, not onto it. We partnered with National Geographic for many years on a mission to promote sustainability through tourism; to help our clients understand the effects of climate change and inspire them to follow in our green footsteps. Following an extensive sustainability audit, we recently became a Platinum certified business by Green Step Sustainable Tourism.
We are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030
, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
. We have taken the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge
and encourage others across Canada, and globally, to commit to measuring and improving their sustainability performance each year between now and 2030.
Minimizing Fossil Fuels, Eliminating Waste, and So Much More...
Our clean energy system with a 12KW photo voltaic solar array allows us to use power derived from the sun for all of our electricity needs. A back-up generator turns on when sunshine is sparse, however the Cariboo region is known for being hot and dry during our operating months, so our minimal fossil-fuel usage is relatively steady throughout the year — on average no more than two hours per day of generator run time. While operating at a maximum capacity, power consumption levels amount to approximately 30 KWH per day, and our solar array can power up to 72 KWH per day. We store the excess in a 48V battery bank.
Wood burning furnaces are used to heat the majority of buildings in the resort. We have an extremely robust recycling system and as a result our garbage output per week in peak season is one bag or less, which we haul to the local transfer station on specific supply days. With only biodegradable cleaning products going into our waste water, our eco-septic systems regenerate grey water for irrigation purposes.
We are a majority Indigenous owned company with a female CEO — an equal opportunity employer, embracing diversity in the workplace. And, in an industry that is known for recruiting internationally, we do our best to ensure that our staff is Canadian sourced, with the majority from BC.
Our guests dine on savoury, organic, ranch-produced food — enriched by the Siwash Lake culinary team with fruit, vegetables, and flora foraged straight from the ranch garden and surrounding forest. Food waste is scarce, for the Siwash hens enjoy left-overs on a daily basis, and in turn provide the operation with a steady supply of farm-fresh eggs. We also utilize a composting system for vegetable scraps and our ranch dogs are fed the meat scraps.
We offer captivating and educating wilderness experiences in Nature. With our plethora of guided eco-adventures, guests are encouraged to embrace everything the land has to offer. Our guests leave minimal carbon footprint as they explore BC’s backcountry by using our horses as their trusty tour guides — other low impact modes of transportation include bike, foot, and canoe. To help offset our fossil fuel use, including gas and diesel for ranch trucks and equipment, propane for cooking and hot water, and the occasional helicopter charter, our rates include an eco fee that helps fund our many environmental initiatives.
Read more about our Sustainability Strategies & Green Practices.
Following the massive Elephant Hill wildfire in 2017, SLWR owners spearheaded development of a not-for-profit, conservation organization. The BC Wildland Ecology Centre Society has a symbiotic relationship with the resort and serves to protect, study, and showcase the fragile eco-system created by the wildfire. The society promotes biodiversity with the objective of reducing negative impacts to soils, riparian areas, cultural values, historic sites and wildlife habitats, while uniting stakeholders and partnering with local Indigenous organizations to preserve cultural and heritage values. BCWEC works in concert with the Secwepemcùl’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, which represents the Bonaparte, High Bar, Whispering Pines, and Skeetchestn Indigenous communities. Located at Siwash Lake, on the Wildland Private Nature Reserve, BCWEC performs all of our advocacy work while facilitating positive change for the environment.
BCWEC and SLWR were involved with the planting of 130,000 tree seedlings by valued partners on land surrounding the resort in the spring of 2018. In spring of 2020, another 5,500 seedlings were planted on the resort property. After the wildfire, silviculture activities are ongoing in the area, and we are constantly advocating for holistic planting prescriptions. We continue to monitor for invasive species; study the after-effects of wildfire; and protect remaining areas of Refugia and habitat from high impact industry activities, and from excessive off-road motor vehicle use.
SLWR and BCWEC have united to introduce fun, family-focused eco-safaris to help instill climate change awareness and insight for those who set foot in this magical post-wildfire outpost. These high-end eco-experiences feature our flagship wildfire ecology program — the Fire Ecology Hike™.