About Yukon Wild
After 15 years of traveling to different parts of the world, and undertaking several self organized expeditions we found our place. The Yukon, Canada's northwestern corner, is were we now call home.
Adventure Tours Yukon Wild Ltd. was founded in 1995 by Rainer Russmann and Elisabeth Weigand.
We put together a program of exciting trips, bought 3 canoes, camping gear and a van, and headed out on trails and rivers with our first clients. It was a small home based family business with a lot of personal touch right from the start.
We have come a long ways since those early days. Now we are a well established business, with a " few " more canoes and equipment (and experience) and have developed our unique style of sharing our knowledge as well as our " backyard " with our guests.
We are a licensed tour operator and member of the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon. We promote "green environmental practices" and high safety standards through licensed and trained guides.
What we kept, are the close ties to our clients, the personal touch, and the respect for nature over business.
We only offer a limited number of trips in small groups that are environmentally sustainable. It is not only about selling our trips. We like to guide most of these trips ourselves and to provide the utmost service while maintaining our company philosophy.
Getting that feedback from our clients, gives us the opportunity to respond to their needs. Being in the field ourselves, keeps us always up to date to respond to any inquiries about a Yukon adventure.
Yukon Wild is not just a business for us, it is an extension of our lifestyle.
Some of our credentials are: Wilderness First Aid , CPR, River Rescue, Hunter Education and Ethics, Wilderness Survival.
Rainer started out as a passionate hiker and backpacker. Then the canoe was added to his favorite means for exploring the Yukon's backcountry on challenging rivers. He always likes to check out new trails and canoe routes and his organization skills and endurance are cornerstones of Yukon Wild. He loves nature and a nature oriented lifestyle. He is very knowledgeable about wildlife, plants, geography, and living in the wilderness. He loves to share his experiences with our guests, and likes to surprise everybody with his campfire cooking.
Besides guiding and organizing the affairs of Yukon Wild, Rainer likes to spend time in his workshop, working with wood. He not only built all of the furniture, but also his cozy log house .
At home, at the Yukon Wild base, Rainer lives and works under environmental friendly conditions.
He generates his own solar power, pumps water from his own well and has a biodegradable wastewater treatment system.
He heats and cooks with dead wood, a renewable resource from close by.
A home office reduces unnecessary travel to town.
Yukon Wild is reinforced by a small group of selected long time Yukon Guides. All are Yukoners like Rainer, living the live they are promoting on trips with years of canoeing and backcountry experience. They are also experienced logbuilders, dog mushers, hunters, and survival experts. They all share the same love for nature and enjoy to provide a knowledgeable background for answering most of the questions before and during your trip. Some are with Yukon Wild right from the beginning.
Our guided tours are not survival trips. You don't have to eat ants or fell trees to build a shelter. Still, it will be a true, hands-on wilderness experience, with unlimited input on your side, if you wish.
As a guide, we rather feel like a mediator between you and an environment so liberating and still mysterious at the beginning, than just marching ahead.
We like to give you the opportunity to learn new skills and adjust to a different pace of life.
We want to create a wilderness environment which makes you feel comfortable and safe.
Your guide will be a valuable source of information in all aspects of your trip, and will give you lots of examples to enjoy life with basic equipment.
On or tours we will offer you the opportunity for a true wilderness adventure. All the infrastructure we need en route, we bring along. In promoting our trips, we are quite aware of the impact that comes with it. As a member of the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, we fully support a wilderness Code of Conduct to minimize the environmental impact. Small group sizes, appropriate equipment, and trying to leave things the way they are, are some of the objectives. In return, your wilderness adventure will be as pristine as possible. Besides having lesser impact, a small group means more attention from the guide for your needs, less destruction from overcrowding, and better service.
Most of our trips are dedicated towards a "down to earth" experience: to see, feel, and smell what's around you. You might be a little bit tired after a day of paddling, but think about the accomplishment and the peace of mind you achieved at the end of that day.
Depending upon the trip you choose, there will be lots of leisure time for yourself.
We would be happy to welcome you in the Yukon, and show you around in a country "Larger than Life"
Code of Conduct
Conservation of wilderness and biodiversity
Wilderness tourism operators have a responsibility to minimize the potential negative impact of wilderness tourism on the environment and people of the Yukon, and to maximize the positive. Contributing to the work of conservation initiatives is one way to do this. For example, operators can:
- Support appropriate conservation initiatives (e.g., through donation of time and resources).
- Become familiar with current conservation issues and initiatives in the Yukon.
- Promote responsible conservation of Yukon wilderness.
- Promote responsible resource development.
- Oppose resource development that would have a negative impact on an existing wilderness tourism operator.
- Oppose resource development that can have a negative impact on critical wildlife habitat.
- Encourage recognition of environmentally responsible tourism as an important sector of the Yukon's economy.
- Encourage clients to support northern conservation initiatives.
Wildlife viewing is an important component of wilderness trips. Operators need to recognize the potential for negative impact on the wildlife species they encounter and take precautions to minimize these.
To minimize negative impacts:
- Maintain ample viewing distance to minimize animal stress.
- Encourage the use of binoculars, scopes and telephoto lenses (300mm or more) in observing wildlife.
- Do not camp where there are signs of obvious wildlife use, such as nesting, denning, feeding or rutting sites.
- Don't follow fleeing or retreating wildlife-to avoid separating a mother from her young, depleting the animal's energy reserves, or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Be especially wary of what seems to be orphaned young, as the mother is likely near by.
- Learn behavioural characteristics of the wildlife species you expect to encounter.
- Take your time and be quiet.
- Do not feed wildlife.
- Don't approach nest or den sites.
- Be familiar with acceptable viewing practices for the areas and seasons of your operation.
- Don't market wildlife viewing opportunities that are unrealistic or would negatively affect the animals being viewed.
- Know about regulations or restrictions that may apply in parks and special management areas.
Leave no trace
Tourism operators have a responsibility to maintain the wilderness quality of the Yukon in the areas in which they operate. WTAY supports the No Trace Yukon Camping Principles established by the Department of Renewable Resources (now the Department of the Environment) and outlined in the document entitled
Into the Yukon Wilderness. They include:
- Plan to leave no trace behind.
- Camp and travel on durable surfaces.
- Pack in, pack out.
- Properly dispose of what you can't pack out.
- Leave what you find.
- Use stoves and small campfires.
- Be considerate.
- When possible and feasible, pack out garbage left by others.
Acknowledge and respect First Nations' culture and traditional activities as well as their concerns regarding visitors to First Nation cultural sites. Operators and guides need to:
- Learn about the First Nation's culture and customs in the area(s) in which you are operating.
- Learn what is appropriate behaviour when interacting with First Nations (e.g., respectful behaviour when photographing First Nation people or sites).
- If cultural interpretation is part of your tour, consider using a First Nation member to provide it. If this is not possible, know what is appropriate to interpret, when and how.
- Know and understand implications of Yukon First Nation Final Agreements in your area of operation, and ensure that your clients understand their responsibilities as well.
- Ensure that your clients respect and understand any cultural differences that they may encounter in the backcountry (e.g., subsistence hunting or trapping in a park).
- Know which sites are protected and what is allowed and appropriate at those sites.
- Understand and respect the cultural significance of sites in areas you travel through.
Historic and archaeological sites
Visiting archaeological and historic sites can be a significant aspect of a wilderness trip. It is important that guides and operators:
- Have knowledge of the historic and archaeological sites in your areas of operation.
- Respect the sites and leave any artifacts in place.
- Abide by guidelines set out by the Cultural Services branch, Heritage Resources, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.
Guides are the front line for companies in the field. The qualifications and temperaments of the guides relate directly to the quality of experience guests will have on their excursions into Yukon wilds. Guides should:
- Have appropriate levels of skill and experience for the activity being conducted.
- Have strong leadership ability.
- Be safety conscious.
- Have an appropriate level of first aid and emergency rescue skills.
- Be knowledgeable about "leave no trace" practices.
- Be well informed about the local environment and any conservation issues affecting the integrity of that environment.
- Be knowledgeable about the natural and cultural history of the area being travelled through, and be able to effectively interpret this to clients.
- Have interpersonal communication skills.
- Have good activity teaching skills (i.e. paddling, hiking, etc.).
- Have proper cooking and food safe skills.
The Yukon's backcountry is perceived as an area of true wilderness where people expect to see few signs of human activity. Residents also expect visitors to behave respectfully in the backcountry as well as in their communities. To ensure this experience, operators and their guides need to:
- Keep noise levels to a minimum.
- Communicate with other parties to ensure adequate spacing.
- Respect other user groups and their activities.
- Ensure clients know how to behave appropriately in communities.
- Respect privacy and property of local residents.
- Be considerate.
To support the local economy and people of the Yukon, operators should make every effort to:
- Buy supplies locally.
- Hire locally.
- Inform clients of local events and where to purchase locally manufactured goods.
Recognizing the need to conduct safe trips for visitors, guides are recommended to:
- Be familiar with potential hazards and seasonal conditions in areas of operation.
- Have some form of reliable communications.
- Have an up-to-date emergency contingency plan.
- Carry adequate first aid supplies.
- Hire fully qualified guides.
- Have a guide-to-client ratio that's suitable for activity undertaken.
- Educate clients as to what is appropriate behaviour with possible hazardous wildlife encounters.
Traveling in the Yukon wilderness involves certain risks, including the possibility of a bear encounter. Guides should be knowledgeable about appropriate bear safety protocols based on bear ecology and behaviour:
- Plan ahead. Learn about bear natural history and behaviour, how to identify bear signs, and measures to take to prevent bear encounters.
- Take precautions:
- Don't surprise a bear.
- Don't crowd a bear.
- Don't attract a bear.
If you see a bear:
- Stay calm. Stop and assess the situation.
- If the bear is not aware of you, avoid it.
- If you can't avoid it, gently alert it of your presence.
- Know what to do if a bear approaches you or you surprise it.
- If a bear attacks, know when to play dead or fight back.
- Know how to use bear spray effectively.