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AmbassadorWILD Pilot Program

Friday • January 7, 2022

AmbassadorWILD is a proposed seasonal summer program that supports sustainable tourism and recreation in priority locations within the Fernie front and backcountry area.

AmbassadorWILD is an engagement, education, maintenance, monitoring, and data capture program for front and backcountry priority tourism and recreation locations in RDEK Area A & Fernie area.  Partnership program with Tourism Fernie (TF), Elk River Alliance (ERA) College of the Rockies - Fernie Campus, Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) Program and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) with further partnership in development with Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA), Coal Creek Heritage Society (CCHS), private landowners and other NGOs.

This proposed pilot program is a result of outcomes from the RDEK Area A Sustainable Tourism Strategy Project and Fernie’s Tourism Master Plan. It is a new initiative that can be a model for other communities or regions to follow and partner with that supports sustainable tourism and recreation.

The AmbassadorWILD program, delivered by trained summer seasonal employees and support volunteers, would primarily:

  • engage with tourism and recreational users for the purpose of educating (re: safety, backcountry ethics, appropriate behaviours[1], etc), heritage interpretation (i.e. flora, fauna, history, culture) and thus improving the experience by providing further ‘locals’ tips, visitor information, and more.
  • collect and report on data to track and document user demographic and feedback, use of the locations and potential impacts and observations for expert review and response.
  • keep key sites clean of garbage, dismantle fire rings discouraging random wildfires, and light duty maintenance of the amenities and facilities.

The program would promote ‘best practices’ of similar programs and agencies from BC Parks, National Parks, Ocean Ambassadors Canada, Regional District of Central Okanagan Volunteer Ambassadors.

The pilot program also proposes an additional VolyWILD support program comprised of non-paid positions. Incentives would include training and assisting our AmbassadorWILD employees to help with job duties, ensure quality experiences to users, collect data, provide information and help with light duties.  Volunteers could then qualify in future for AmbassadorWILD employment positions.

Seed Funding Sources for Pilot Program: Elk River Project-TRTDI, RDEK, Tourism Fernie and in-kind support from all partners, plus potential from Columbia Basin Trust and Canada Summer Jobs Grant.

Priority locations include: Elk River, Heiko's Trail, Silver Springs and Coal Creek Drainage

[1] Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly, FireSMART, WildsafeBC, AdventureSMART, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, Angling Ethics, Invasive Species Council of BC and more.

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