The Bella Coola Heli Sports Legacy Fund
Our Commitment to Conservation, Community, and Climate
Our Commitment to Conservation, Community, and Climate
We are fortunate to live, work, and play in a stunning and pristine environment with wonderful communities supporting us. In turn, we are committed to preserving this environment and its ecology, supporting the health and wellness of the people that populate our communities, and reducing our carbon footprint.
We are committed to not just following best practices and trends, but to be pioneers in creating a more sustainable and balanced business model so that future generations can experience the same wonders that we experience here today.
We believe in harnessing the power of business to develop, fund, and act on opportunities to make a positive difference and ask all our guests to participate in this endeavor. When guests choose to holiday with Bella Coola Heli Sports a 2% sustainability surcharge is added to their invoice. These funds flow directly into The Bella Coola Heli Sports (BCHS) Legacy Fund.
To maximize our impact and align our efforts with local priorities, we collaborate with industry partners, community stakeholders, and highly effective social and environmental organizations. Our primary emphasis is on locally managed and locally directed initiatives.
Funding decisions and priorities are determined by an independent committee comprising key community members and members of the management team at Bella Coola Heli Sports.
The BCHS Legacy Fund is committed to building a sustainable future. To achieve that goal we will be seeking applications for funding that resonate with our vision in the future. Specifically, we will prioritize projects that align with the aforementioned pillars of conservation, community, and climate. These pillars guide our mission and represent our dedication to preserving our natural environment, supporting our local community, and addressing the challenges posed by climate change. We encourage applicants to share their feedback on our current initiatives and to start thinking about new ideas that reflect the principles outlined above.
The Central Coast of British Columbia and the Chilcotin Plateau are very dear to our hearts. The region is situated far from the bustling hubs of human activity and is renowned for its remarkable geography and ecological wonders. Nevertheless, there are many threats to its ongoing health and biodiversity. Forest fires, drought, and a warming climate are altering the region’s character and placing stress on its ecosystems.
The BCHS Legacy Fund is dedicated to bolstering local conservation efforts. We achieve this by providing support for research into wildlife behavior and resilience, initiatives aimed at safeguarding habitats, and educational programs for the public.
Current research priorities include studying the impacts of tourism on grizzly bear behavior and monitoring the health of mountain goat populations. Wildlife and habitat protection initiatives include supporting lobbying efforts to maintain the ban on grizzly bear hunting and restoring salmon habitats. Public education is focused on minimizing the potential for human-bear interactions. This involves emphasizing the importance of maintaining clean yards and the provision of electric fencing to deter bears from gardens and fruit trees.
We allocate funding to several organizations, including the Commercial Bear Viewing Association (CBVA), the Bella Coola Foodshed Alliance, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, and HeliCat Canada's Sustainability Fund. These partnerships help us actively support and further our conservation objectives in this cherished region.
Community is the driving force that empowers us to pursue our mission, and reciprocally, we are dedicated to nurturing the communities that sustain us. At the heart of this commitment are the communities residing in the areas where we live, work, and play. Community also extends to include our colleagues, service providers, and guests, as well as the broader global network of eco-tourism and mountain sports communities.
The BCHS Legacy Fund is resolved to collaborate with these communities in identifying areas where our efforts can have the greatest benefit. This encompasses a range of initiatives, including, but not limited to, supporting health and wellness programs, fostering local arts and culture, facilitating educational opportunities and scholarships, enhancing public safety, and promoting the growth of local businesses.
It is crucial to acknowledge that Bella Coola Heli Sports operates on the unceded territories of eight First Nations: Nuxalk Nation, Tŝilhqot'in Nation, Ulkatcho First Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, We Wai Kai Nation, Wuikinuxw Nation, Xwemalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation, and Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala First Nation. Recognizing the historical injustices perpetrated over the past 160 years, we are committed to empowering and uplifting these communities. This includes acknowledging the impact of diseases, government policies of neglect and marginalization, and various forms of systemic racism, both deliberate and unintentional.
Our funding efforts extend to various initiatives, including support for HeliCat Canada's Sustainability Fund, which aids avalanche research and education, as well as mental health programs within the guiding community. We also contribute to the Nuxalk Coastal Guardians, the Clellamin Family Totem Project, educational scholarships for youth, and donations to local events such as the Bella Coola Rodeo, the Bella Coola Valley Music Festival, Tour de Bella Coola, and local sports teams. Additionally, we offer assistance installing bear-aware electric fencing, collaborate with the Power to Be Foundation, and provide gear, training, and leadership support to Bella Coola Search and Rescue.
More than most businesses, we are impacted by climate change and are acutely aware that this impact is accelerating. Shorter winter seasons and melting glaciers are restricting our ability to run ski programs, while our summer season faces threats from the increasing occurrence of uncontrolled wildfires and extreme rain-induced flooding.
BCHS’s carbon strategy is threefold: protecting natural carbon sinks by investing in carbon offsets; reducing our emissions by conserving and transitioning to sustainable energy sources; and in future working with carbon capture companies to capture and permanently store unavoidable emissions, addressing both current and historic emissions.
Terrestrial ecosystems currently absorb a quarter of all greenhouse gasses emitted by humans. By investing more in protecting and restoring these ecosystems, we believe this absorption capacity can increase to at least one-third. Since 2019, BCHS has been climate positive by purchasing offsets in the Great Bear Rainforest, the region where we operate. The proceeds from these offsets benefit local First Nations, supporting the preservation of the local landscape and ecology, as well as enabling economic diversification and improved local governance and stewardship.
Although we have made some reductions through initiatives such as electric vehicles and renewable energy, our most significant gains will come from reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and adopting Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), which can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%. We have already purchased 6000 litres of Neste SAF through Tomorrow's Air. We anticipate a net reduction of 1.25% for the current operating year, with plans to expand this program in the coming years.
While we have not yet integrated carbon capture technologies, there are several exciting developments in this field, with organizations like Climeworks offering a carbon capture program and Running Tide developing technology that has the potential to reduce carbon capture costs to US$100 per ton. We intend to incorporate carbon capture into our climate strategy by 2025.
Although our individual efforts may have a relatively small impact on the broader global climate challenge, we are unwavering in our commitment to being part of the solution. As industry leaders, we believe we can influence positive change. Our goal is not only to lead by example but also to inspire others to follow suit and establish their own robust climate strategies. We firmly believe that inspiration is the catalyst for positive change, and by uniting our efforts, we can collectively create a far more substantial and lasting impact. As a testament to this belief, our leadership and advocacy have already prompted the entire HeliCat Canada membership to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. For more information, please refer to HCC's Sightline 2030 document.