Polar Bear Blog

Churchill Wild wins 2015 Sustainable Tourism Award for Polar Bear Walking Safaris

Melanie Swenarchuk, Senior Business Director at Churchill Wild, accepts 2015 Sustainable Tourism Award.
Melanie Swenarchuk, Senior Business Director at Churchill Wild, accepts 2015 Sustainable Tourism Award.

Churchill Wild is proud to announce  that we recently received the 2015 Sustainable Tourism Award at the 17th Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards.

“We’re very honoured to receive this award,” said Mike Reimer, co-owner of Churchill Wild along with his wife Jeanne. “We’d also like to congratulate our fellow nominees FortWhyte Alive and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. We’ve worked very hard over the past 30 years to ensure our remote lodges and polar bear safaris have minimal impact on the wildlife in the pristine Arctic environments we operate in. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and it’s wonderful to be appreciated for our efforts.”

The Manitoba Tourism Awards recognize excellence in the promotion and delivery of high quality tourism experiences throughout Manitoba. Churchill Wild was specifically recognized for providing customized adventures in the Arctic ecosystem without disturbing its inhabitants, and for promoting conservation of native wildlife and vegetation while also creating social and economic benefits for local communities.

L to R: Bob Sparrow, Chair of Travel Manitoba Board of Directors; Melanie Swenarchuk, Senior Business Director, Churchill Wild; Ron Lemieux, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport & Consumer Protection; Richard Dupuis, Visitor Experience Manager, Riding Mountain National Park
L to R: Bob Sparrow, Chair of Travel Manitoba Board of Directors; Melanie Swenarchuk, Senior Business Director, Churchill Wild; Ron Lemieux, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport & Consumer Protection; Richard Dupuis, Visitor Experience Manager, Riding Mountain National Park

Wildlife activities at the Churchill Wild lodges, which include Seal River Lodge, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, Dymond Lake EcoLodge and North Knife Lake Lodge, are as low impact as possible, using established trails and beach ridges to minimize their effect on the environment. Guests do not pursue or pressure wildlife, but instead allow animals to approach on their own terms. Hiking is the preferred mode of transportation.

Built by local craftsman using recycled materials and woods harvested sustainably from the forests of Manitoba and Minnesota, the Churchill Wild lodges are a significant and steady purchaser of local goods and services. Churchill Wild also provides employment for local youth and First Nations people, many of whom — like the Reimer family — have significant historical ties to the northern areas in which the lodges are located.

Churchill Wild lodges serve a menu of local “country foods” to minimize shipping and maximize flavour and quality, including sustainably and humanely harvested local fish, game, wild berries and salad greens. Only safe and sustainable oils and ingredients are used in food preparation.

2015 Sustainable Tourism Award Winner - Churchill Wild
2015 Sustainable Tourism Award Winner – Churchill Wild

“Reduce. Recycle. Re-use,” is a phrase often used to describe Churchill Wild’s efforts to be environmentally friendly. Recognizing that the future is their environment, they practice and promote wise and sustainable resource use and sound conservation principles and practices for all habitats and wildlife in their surrounding ecosystems.

“Our goal is to become 100 percent self-sufficient using renewable energy sources such as solar power,” said Mike Reimer. “We’re almost there.” Churchill Wild’s primary objective is to minimize the impact they have on the environment while also maximizing guest experiences.

“Our guests notice even the little things we do with regards to the environment and the wildlife,” said Jeanne Reimer. “We really appreciate that.”

“It’s our way of life.”

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