A geographer by training, Kevin Smith has explored the British Columbia coast by boat since before he could ride a bike. While a backcountry and marine park ranger, often alone on his patrol boat, he witnessed the incredible power and beauty of nature and wanted to share it with others. As president of Maple Leaf Adventures, he shows that to truly explore the landscapes, wildlife and culture of the coast, you need to go by water, where roads can’t reach—and in small groups that won’t damage the ecosystem.
When the pandemic halted tourism, Smith joined forces with his competitors in the Small Ship Tour Operators Association on a large-scale environmental cleanup — undertaken with the blessing of the Indigenous governments in the area. It was a great example of respectful community building, and also saved their industry.
“That was the emotional truth of each day on the expedition: total triumph at what we’d done to save the place; total helplessness at the enormity of the problem.”
Updated May 4, 2023
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