Island Lake Resort Group endeavors to operate in a sustainable way at all levels of the business. We will contribute to our community and uphold ourselves and our partners to a high level of social responsibility. We own 7,000 acres of rare Rocky Mountain ecosystem. With this privilege comes responsibility. Here is a list of solutions that we have developed and implemented to promote environmental stewardship while balancing the needs of economic sustainability and profitability for our company.
Purchase local and organic produce and products whenever possible. Island Lake purchases produce from Snow Valley Farms in Fernie, No’s Orchard in Creston and 3 Crows Farms in Cranbrook. Island Lake is also OceanWise certified meaning all fish and seafood is sustainably sourced and purchases meat from the local 4H Club
Foster a supportive relationship with small businesses in the Elk Valley. Make it a priority to hire local sub-contractors, consultants, and promote other local tourism operators. Purchase materials and office supplies from local vendors and above all else encourage local partnerships whenever possible
Maintain an open dialogue with community grassroots conservation groups like Wildsight and The Elk River Alliance and other local organizations to communicate initiatives, management decisions, restrictions and openings when it is possible. This open dialogue strengthens relationships and builds mutual trust and respect
Provide ample opportunities for local people to visit or bring friends and family for a meal, hike, snow shoe,nordic skior to enjoy our spa services. Though not profitable, Island Lake offers lunch to those whom ski up in the winter. Partner with local organizations and events and let them use the Island Lake property. (Fernie TransRockies Society, , Trans Rockies Events, , Fernie Mountain Bike Club, Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club, etc
Partner with the College of the Rockies Fernie Campus and Mountain Activities Skills Training (MAST) Program for programs and services offered on contract through many of Island Lake Lodge’s professional guides and/or by providing access to the property
Allow access to lands for Canadian Avalanche Center Avalanche Awareness programs and education
Allow access to lands for University of Calgary Snow Avalanche Risk Control research program
Whenever possible hire local staff
Support local community conservation efforts by displaying literature and cooperating with programs raising the profile or organizations like Wildsight, Wildsafe BC, Y2Y, etc. to visitors and staff.
Donations to dozens of local organizations with a focus on groups that help children and the environment including: Emily Brydon Youth Foundation, Wildsight, The Elk River Alliance, Fernie Family Housing Society, Feel Good Fernie, Summer Socials Committe, Fernie Colour Crawl, FMBC High Roller Event, Parkinson’s Superwalk Event, Fernie Lions Club – Annual Auction, Elk Valley Society – Children Summer Program, FAST – Van Level 1 Sponsor, Fernie Museum, Fernie Nordic Society and the Fernie Film Festival
Energy Use & Fuel Consumption
- Produce all our electricity (85 KW) using 2 flow through, hydro generators on Breanne Springs.
- Use diesel generator only as an emergency backup system.
- Utilize energy efficient light bulbs and other energy efficiency planning & tools.
- Encourage a conservation ethic amongst guests to hang towels to reuse again and wash bed linens only every 3 nights or on check out.
- Limit set points of thermostats.
- We use 4 stroke snowmobiles for lower emissions, fuel consumption, low oil use, less sound pollution and fewer belt replacements.
- Thermostats for the floor heating systems are throttled back during times of low occupancy.
- All motorized vehicles restricted to the main roads. Off road use of motorized vehicles is prohibited.
- Public snowmobile use on any of the property is prohibited.
- Hard surface parking area for staff and guest vehicles to minimize erosion.
- Limited access to the property during off-season (spring and fall)
- Double walled Enviro-Tanks to eliminate fuel spills.
- Recycle all glass, plastic, cans, paper and cardboard
- Septic system is a combination of aerobic (forced air) and anaerobic treatment to an effluent field.
- Use predominantly off-site laundry facility that utilizes energy efficient washers and dryers and environmentally safe products. Minimal on-site laundry facilities use only phosphate-free laundry soap.
- Recycle oil filters, fuel filters, waste oils and anti-freeze.
- Supply reusable cups for guests while catskiing.
- Regularly service and maintain bear proof waste containers for outside operations.
- Bags for garbage disposal are a biodegradable, compostable plastic meeting ASTM D6400 standards.
- Holding tanks for mechanical oil and solvents in shop
- As part of the approved Official Community Plan– 97% of Island Lakes land has been set aside as a Nature Reserve. Within the OCP Island Lake has committed to maintaining a trail network and public access.
- Use third party service provider to monitor the water quality of Island Lake to ensure a healthy habitat for aquatic vegetation and wildlife, ranging from moose to cutthroat trout and bald eagles.
- Operate within the guidelines as set by the Private Managed Forest Land Act and recently passed on site inspection..
- Facilitate the work of scientists in the Elk Valley generally and more specifically in Cedar Valley.
- Housekeeping cleaning products are certified by Green Seal, Envirodesic, Environmental Choice and the European Union’s Eco-Label: The Flower, to have minimal impact on indoor air-quality and reduced human and aquatic toxicity. As well, these products have shown excellent biodegradability in aerobic and anaerobic environments.
The majority of Island Lake’s 7,000 acres land base is managed according to forest practice standards as set by the Private Managed Forest Land Act (PMFLA). The PMFLA was established by the BC Legislature in 2003 to encourage sustainable forest management practices and protect key public environmental values on privately owned land under the Managed Forest Program. The PMFLA establishes forest management objectives for soil conservation, water quality, fish habitat, critical wildlife habitat and reforestation, as well as instituting the Private Managed Forest Land Council as an independent public agency to administer forest practices under the program. The Council routinely conducts inspections and compliance investigations. Our policy is to inspect all managed forests at least once every five years where we assess performance relative to management commitments and regulatory requirements.
More on PMFLA can be found at:
- Restrict access to sensitive species such as lynx, mountain goats, moose and grizzly bears during critical periods of their life cycle specifically during birthing, denning, and foraging
- Incorporate WildSafe BC training for all summer staff
- Document and post large animal sightings in trail report and at lodge
- Restrict hunting access in Cedar Valley that was historically open to hunting
- Protect historical ‘Cedar Valley Old Growth’ forest & the integrity of this rare ecosystem and forest stand. The future of this reserve depends on the goodwill, conservation ethic and ecosystem management of the company
- Build winter/snow roads to offer moose an easy escape route when snow cats and snowmobiles are approaching to minimize harassment of the animals
- Protect undeveloped, low elevation habitat along Lizard Creek and populations of wintering ungulates
- Provide a wilderness refuge for animals pressured by Fernie’s urban development and development at the base of Fernie Alpine Resort
- Hire professional biologists to assess environmental impacts and when necessary practices that will minimize the effect of activities
- Utilize appropriate construction methods and maintenance practices on the road to minimize siltation of tributary creeks harming fish populations in Lizard Creek
Minimizing Human Impacts
- Prohibit grazing of domestic livestock
- Developed a map of our trails, and built bridges and cairns to keep visitors on the paths, reducing the trampling of sensitive vegetation, especially in the alpine. Significant trail maintenance work performed annually to ensure sustainable trails
- Inform guests about wildlife behavior encouraging viewing from a safe, appropriate distance
- Practice and promote a “pack it in; pack it out” behavior so no evidence of visitors remain in the backcountry
Education & Awareness
- Development of a Wildlife Encounter Reporting process to track and notify guests and staff of wildlife observations and encounters
- Development of a purchasing policy whereby supplies and products are only purchased from suppliers who share our beliefs and commitment to sustainable business practices and the environment
- Joined the Hotel Association of Canada’s ECOmmodation Program to receive feedback on areas where we can improve our environmental initiatives and to help promote environmental ethics in the hotel industry
- Have an updated safety plan in place including wildlife encounter plans.
- Brief clients and staff on ways to avoid and handle wildlife encounters so as to minimize the risk to clients and protect wildlife.
- Cleaning products are chosen based on low or non-toxicity and selected to improve indoor air quality and reduce toxicity.
Office & Administration
- Ensure that all marketing collaterals printed on FSC certified paper and contain a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled material
- Unplug office deep-freeze during shoulder seasons
- Recycle ink cartridges and minimize printing.
- Formation of a Green Committee to audit practices, brainstorm and implement new ideas, and promote green activities within the company and community.