Over the last two decades, Spirit Bear Lodge has become known worldwide. Employing nearly 10% of the local population, the Lodge has diversified opportunities for employment in the community, particularly for youth. The Lodge has helped strengthen economic, conservation and cultural well-being in the community of Klemtu.
We went from a community largely dependant on resource extractive jobs to a community whose economy was largely based on conservation and non-extractive activities. - Douglass Neasloss
The story of Spirit Bear Lodge is about more than just a successful ecotourism business, it is the story of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation creating a conservation-focused, one-of-a-kind, sustainable business in one of the most remote places in Canada. The business helped attract researchers to the area and strengthen the protection of the Nation’s vast territory.
One of the biggest benefits is that our people get paid to be themselves. They get paid to interpret who they are and where they're from and to share their culture and their stories and the wildlife.
Community members pushed for Spirit Bear Lodge to be more than just a business and so it was. Much of the lodge’s profits are reinvested in language revitalization, youth development, stewardship, and further business expansions.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important impacts that the Lodge has had in Klemtu is to help revitalize the Kitasoo Xai’xais culture. Spirit Bear Lodge has provided a platform to help re-establish a connection with the territory and re-asserting Kitasoo Xai’xais stewardship of the region.
Today Spirit Bear Lodge is a showcase community tourism business in the Great Bear Rainforest, and a recognized best practice model for Indigenous community-based tourism in Canada.