Disappearing Destinations


Oftentimes, the journey is the ultimate goal. But with these seven regions in transition, the story is in the hot spots themselves




Why now
With more than a million waste-producing tourists riding cruise ships to Alaska each year, British Columbia’s stunning coast is poised to become “the toilet of the Pacific Northwest,” says Dr Ross Klein, a sociologist at Newfoundland’s Memorial University. How serious is the problem? “There is no monitoring of ships in BC’s Inside Passage,” Klein says, “so we really don’t know the depth of the environmental threat.”
 
How to go 
Explore the hidden coves and inland fjords that bigger ships can’t access with small-ship, low-impact outfitters like AdventureSmith Explorations (adventuresmithexplorations.com) and the M/V Catalyst (pacificcatalyst.com).

When to go 
The small-ship cruising season runs May through September, but be prepared for the possibility of cool, wet weather year-round.

Armchair advocacy

Bluewater Network (bluewaternetwork.org) is working to get the international cruise, shipping, and ferry industries to clean up their practices. (Canada’s lax disposal laws are also partly to blame for dumping.) Bluewater scored a recent victory when Intertanko, a major oil tanking association, supported their call for all oceangoing vessels to switch to lower-sulfur fuels.

Wildlife watch 
Disembarking for spontaneous kayak trips and land adventures is a another major perk of small-ship travel. Passengers on the M/V Catalyst have spotted wolves and even the rare spirit bear during hikes through the cedar and spruce forest that lines the BC coast.

Boreal Forests, Finland 

Why now 
Despite the protests of local reindeer herders, the Finnish government continues to mine the old-growth woods of Lapland, one of Europe’s last remaining wilderness areas. The loss of trees here harms not only aesthetics but also local reindeer. The animals normally subsist on tree lichen when the ground is frozen, but with fewer forests to graze in, they’re going hungry.

How to go
 
On a Lapland Adventures (lapland-adventures.com) safari you’ll hike, camp, kayak, and even snorkel through some of northern Finland’s stunning waters and wildlands with guides well versed in the region’s natural and cultural histories.

When to go
 
Summers above the Arctic Circle are drenched in endless sunlight. Conversely, winters are sunless but lit by star-jammed skies and bright curtains of Northern Lights. In spring, a myriad of flowers surface on the Arctic fells and reindeer calves emerge.

Armchair advocacy
 
Sami reindeer herders give some background on their culture and work, talk about logging on grazing lands, and provide updates on their plight on the Reindeer Herders Association website (paliskunnat.fi).

Detour
Lake Inari’s pine-lined shores vary from rocky cliffs to beaches and quiet coves. The island-studded lake has many lanky, protected straits, called nuari, perfect for exploring by kayak.

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Issue 25



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