Forests that smell of pine and spruce. Crystal clear lakes. Pristine peaks. Outdoor businesses and organizations depend on a healthy environment to provide unforgettable experiences. It is therefore not surprising that some are committed to a process to reduce their own ecological footprint.
This is how a first group of 17 companies, from practically all regions of Quebec, embarked on a journey to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of a project led by Aventure Écotourisme Québec, Transition low carbon.
These companies, such as Noryak Adventures on the North Shore, Rafting New World in the Laurentians or Aventure Rose-des-Vents in Saguenay, will first have to establish their carbon footprint.
“We are embarking on an inventory, a precise calculation of our GHGs [greenhouse gases],” says Ariane Grenier, executive assistant at Sentiers Québec Charlevoix/La Traversée de Charlevoix. They gave us a tool that we have to fill out. It’s quite specific, for example: how many liters we consumed in such tool, in such vehicle, what purchases we made, how many chairs we bought, were they made in Quebec, etc. »
It will then be a question of giving yourself a plan to reduce your footprint. “What are the actions we can do? What can’t we do? Because we may not have the means, material or financial. But at least it’s good to know,” she adds.
Like many companies in the sector, Sentiers Quebec-Charlevoix had already launched a series of initiatives to protect the environment that do not only affect greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, the organization collaborates with GUEPE (United Group of Educators-Naturalists and Environmental Professionals) to train its employees and educate customers about the alpine vegetation characteristic of the high plateaus of Charlevoix.
The partners will in particular install ropes and awareness panels on peaks that have been degraded by certain practices, such as wild camping.
Sentiers Québec-Charlevoix has undertaken to develop designated campsites to redirect hikers there and thus protect the peaks. “It’s an action that does not have a direct impact on GHGs, but it is important,” continues Ariane Grenier.
With the Enclume cooperative, Sentiers Québec-Charlevoix has launched a feasibility study on the creation of a linear park that would follow the route of the Traversée de Charlevoix.
“That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” says Ms. Grenier. We have to consult a lot of people, because we cross a lot of already organized territories, ZECs. But for us, it would give us levers to be able to protect natural places a little more strictly because at the moment, our hands are tied, we have no lever other than awareness. »
In the meantime, Sentiers Québec-Charlevoix has undertaken to reduce energy consumption in its chalets, in particular by installing solar panels and more efficient wood stoves.
Aventurex, a company that offers climbing activities and via ferrata courses, is also taking part in the low-carbon Transition course to improve what it already considers to be a low balance.
“In our sector, mountain adventure, we don’t consume too much energy,” says Aventurex boss François-Guy Thivierge.
The Montagne du Diable regional park has also come a long way: it promotes buying local, whether it’s food, wood or equipment. He encourages carpooling for his employees and even allows them to sleep on site when they have back-to-back workdays.
“Low Carbon Transition is a continuation of the awareness we’ve had for years and the eco-responsible practices we’ve already put in place,” says park manager Isabelle Legault.
Ariane Grenier, from Sentiers Québec-Charlevoix, is delighted with the professional support that the companies will benefit from, but also with the possibility of exchanging with each other.
“We will have a group meeting in October to take stock and to see, collectively, what efforts will be necessary. »
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