Neve Richards, Gabriel Cote-Valiquette and Reese Pagnucco - the AmbassadorWILD team for 2022. (Image contributed by Tourism Fernie)

Neve Richards, Gabriel Cote-Valiquette and Reese Pagnucco - the AmbassadorWILD team for 2022. (Image contributed by Tourism Fernie)

Pilot program launched to care for Fernie’s tourist attractions

The program developed and managed by Tourism Fernie will help take care of important nature-based locations

A new ambassador initiative has been launched this summer to support sustainable tourism.

The 3-year pilot AmbassadorWILD program, which is developed and managed by Tourism Fernie will help take care of important nature-based locations, collect data for quality decision-making, and promote safe and responsible front and backcountry recreation.

The program was created in in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay Area A (RDEK), Elk River Alliance and College of the Rockies – Fernie Campus Mountain Skills Training (MAST) Program, with seed funding from RDEK Area A, Targeted Regional Tourism Development Initiative, TECK, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Tourism Fernie and the Government of Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs Program.

Priority locations for 2022 include key Elk River access points, Silver Springs, Heiko’s Trail and the Coal Creek area, including the Ammonite. These priority locations were based on survey feedback from residents, areas in need of support and locations that are popular with locals and visitors.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to get this initiative off the ground this year,” said executive officer of Tourism Fernie, Jikke Gyorki.

”The program is in a pilot phase with this year being focused on launching the program and getting the new ambassadors in the field to see how key locations are being used, support maintenance and amenity projects, identify and document issues and needs, communicate and survey locals and visitors, and more.”

The program has hired an experienced and enthusiastic seasonal team including a part-time manager and two full-time ambassadors for 2022. Prior to hiring the team and throughout the program development and training many other organizations have been involved and fully engaged including WildsafeBC, AdventureSmart, Fernie Search & Rescue, BC Conservation Officer Service, Rec Sites & Trails BC, Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA), Coal Creek Heritage Society (CCHS), landowners, commercial operators and more.

Other outcomes from the RDEK A Sustainable Tourism Project include amenity improvements to priority Elk River boat launches, composting and pit toilets for key locations such as Silver Springs, access and parking improvements, trail signage and access improvements, trail counters and wildlife cameras to support sustainability efforts and more.

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