Eco-friendly travel on the Last Frontier

Deep sapphire-blue ocean dotted with chunks of glacial ice. An American Bald Eagle gliding through the misty, twilight sky. A moose and her gangly cub taking a sip of fresh river water. Un-messed-with Alaska is stunning from every angle. If you agree it’s worth seeing and worth preserving, here are a handful of green travel ideas to consider for your trip.

1. Book green

With so many Alaskan outfitters committed to caring for the environment, it’s really easy to find eco-friendly guides for all types of adventures from kayaking to flightseeing.

Find AGA certified outfitters here: http://www.adventuregreenalaska.org/aga-businesses.

2. Float light

Mega cruise ships abound in the Gulf of Alaska. Fortunately many major cruise lines are making big strides in being eco-friendly, with efforts including upgrading water filtration systems to limit waste and switching to cleaner fuel sources. Even so, it’s worth investigating sightseeing options aboard eco-cruises, such as with The Boat Company.

Small boats are relatively agile and can change course if needed to accommodate, for example, a pod of belugas. They have quieter engines, which equates to less underwater noise pollution. And—as more of a traveler benefit than environmental benefit—small vessels can get closer to shore (or glacier) than their bigger counterparts, which means you’ll get a better view!

3. Shop and eat local

In addition to supporting the community, buying local goods is good for the planet. If it’s made or grown locally, it wasn’t flown in. (…As if we needed an excuse to eat salmon fresh from Alaskan waters!)

Look for the Made in Alaska and Alaska Grown logos.

4. Respect the animals

There are plenty of sensational videos of people getting up close and personal with whales, bears, elk, etc. If an orca photobombs your selfie while you’re kayaking, consider yourself lucky, but don’t chase after them if the animals are being camera shy. Do your thing while letting the wildlife do their thing.

If you want to get close with animals, you can do so and do good by playing with puppies. You read that right. Just add dog sledding to your itinerary. Many operators welcome and encourage visitors to play with the puppies to help socialize them.

5. Leave no trace

We all know not to litter; this is just a reminder to be proactive about avoiding accidents. Be aware enough of your belongings to prevent silly mistakes. For example, if you stored your phone in a plastic bag on a boat tour, when you take it out to capture those epic whale pics, put the plastic bag in a pocket or backpack that you can zip shut.

6. Erase the trace

Join in on the eco-fitness trend “plogging” (picking up plastic while jogging), do a litter-pick-up hike with your travel mates, or simply pick up a piece or two of trash as you come across it for proper disposal or recycling.

Be one of the intentional travelers who makes a positive difference. Thanks in advance!

Do your best and enjoy the rest

You don’t need to take on the stress of the world, and no one’s asking you to forego showering (really!) for the sake of the environment. But by doing what you can to take care of nature as you’re immersing yourself in it, you can rest easy knowing you’re a part of keeping it as amazing as it is now.

Next, discover the treasures surrounding Portland, Oregon.

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