Almost every family is involved in tourism in some way, whether as a boat operator, tour guide, hotel staff or in marketing. It's the second biggest industry here and an extremely important one for the community.
Growing up on Vancouver Island, John began venturing into the wilderness with his family as a young child. This inspired his later years of travel, both locally and globally in search of wild places. His passion for outdoor adventure led him to an education in Adventure Tourism and later to guiding and management positions with a variety of coastal wilderness tourism operators. John has many passions routed in the outdoors, including fly fishing, kayaking, river rafting, hiking, and wildlife viewing. John is passionate about sharing experiences with visitors from around the world.
John has been with Spirit Bear Lodge since 2016 and is thrilled to continue working with the Kitasoo/Xai'xais to share their culture and territory with guests of Spirit Bear Lodge. For John, there is no better place to be than on the side of a river in an untouched valley right in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Originally from Montreal, after graduating from Concordia University with a Geography degree John packed his bags and headed West. John has spent the last 22 years working as a wilderness guide, lodge manager, boat captain and tourism consultant on the coast of British Columbia and Arctic Canada. John is a 60 ton Master with Transport Canada and has skippered boats full of tourists from Haida Gwaii to Campbell River. His passions include being in boats surrounded by whales or tucked away in a remote estuary on the coast of BC with grizzly and black bears.
When not at the helm of a boat or in an estuary John spends the offseason at his home on Vancouver Island with his wife and two teenagers. Skiing powder, mountain biking, beach walking with the family is how the Captain spends the off season. With 9 years of experience as a bear guide and 7 as a whale guide, he is always excited to share the BC coast and its bounty of wildlife with guests from around the world.
Chef in Training - Appy and Dessert Specialist
Raised in Klemtu, Sandra has been working for Spirit Bear Lodge for five years, the local restaurant for five years, and has done catering jobs here in the community. Sandra fell in love with cooking in middle/high school and is registered into the professional cook 1 apprenticeship. Sandra is very passionate about her work, and while she loves to make her favourites, she isn't afraid to get creative and try new things!
Murray, aka 'Moose', is one of the skippers of our tourism vessel. Raised in Klemtu since he was a young boy, Murray loves nothing more than guiding guests in Kitasoo/Xai’xais territory. As he puts it, “The ocean is my playground.” He brings ample experience and enthusiasm to the position. Murray has had a varied career in construction and infrastructure maintenance with the Kitasoo Band Council.
Simon has been a skipper for Spirit Bear Lodge for three seasons. Simon loves taking our guests from around the world on adventures in his territory and bringing them home safe and sound, even when the weather gets rough. Simons wife Wendy is one of our housekeeping managers, and their daughter Raeann also works in housekeeping. We are lucky to have this great family working with us at SBL.
Wendy Mason Hall
Wendy has been with Spirit Bear Lodge for a few years now and has taken over as housekeeping manager this season. Wendy has an eye for details and is a joy to work with. Wendy works year round at the lodge keeping rooms and common areas clean and comfortable. Her husband Simon skippers for the lodge and their daughter Mercy has spent time guiding for as well. Though many of our guests never meet Wendy, all our guests appreciate her hard work and attention to detail.
Guide - Social Media Mentee
After living in Vancouver for 10 years Troy returned to his home town of Klemtu in 2017 aspiring to reconnect with his roots and to learn his traditional language and the stories of his people. Troy began guiding with Spirit Bear Lodge in 2017 and was an instant success. He is also a member of the Súa Youth Performance Group. Troy is a hard-working, positive, team player, always smiling, and with a knack for storytelling. He loves to share the stories he has learned, and maybe a few of his own, so just ask!
Heather works as a Teaching Assistant at the Kitasoo Community School from September to June, but her summers are dedicated to guiding guests from around the world throughout her territory. Heather brings spirit and laughter to the SBL team, along with a wealth of knowledge of both the natural and cultural history of this region. Since 2016 she has shared her attentive and caring nature and excellent sense of humour with the lodge, bringing comfort and high spirits to her tours. Heather is just awesome!
Clark Robinson Jr
Guest Relations and Seasonal Accommodations
Clark has worked with SBL as our front of house and administrative assistant for seven seasons. Clark plays a key role by orchestrating breakfast and dinner service, taking care of our guests and always does whatever he can to make our guests feel at home. When we need help with any administrative tasks Clark is always there to lend a hand. Spirit Bear Lodge just wouldn’t be the same without Clark.
Chef's helper - Guide in training
Margo has been working with Spirit Bear Lodge as part of the kitchen team for the past four years. Margo creates an amazing lunch spread for all of our guests and staff to take on adventures every day. You can also thank Margo for delicious baked goods and treats that fill our bellies. Margo is key in delivering the delicious food we all enjoy at Spirit Bear Lodge.
Lead Guide - Operations Assistant - Photographer Extraordinare!
Jack was born and raised in the south of England where he studied Animal management and conservation for 3 years at Sparsholt College. Growing up with a mother and father who allowed 26+ pets into their household, as you could imagine, set a foundation for his love and interest for animals and nature.
His best childhood hobby was digging the garden for the biggest, nastiest bugs he could find, and coming indoors covered in mud and leeches. It didn't take long before he explored his Canadian roots and fell in love with the vast wildlife that BC has to offer. "Being out in the sticks with the bears and the whales is awesome, but sharing that experience with other nature lovers from all around the world is unbeatable." As well as a Guide, Jack is a keen wildlife photographer. You can see his work at www.facebook.com/jackplantphoto
After completing her honours bachelor of Environmental Science degree and working in some of Western Canada’s most iconic destinations, including Banff and Jasper National Parks and the Clayoquot UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Elissa set her sights on the Great Bear Rainforest. In 2013 she joined the Spirit Bear Lodge team and fell in love with this untamed and unparalleled part of the world.
To be invited year after year to live in the beautiful community of Klemtu in the territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation has been a great honour for Elissa. Likewise, her time spent getting to know the rivers and wildlife of this region has filled her with immense gratitude and joy, an experience she looks forward to sharing with guests. Elissa loves to share her knowledge of bears and salmon, as well of some of her more eclectic specialties, like analyzing animal scats, tracking banana slugs, and admiring the graceful dance of nudibranchs, so please do ask! Elissa loves to share her knowledge of bears and salmon, as well of some of her more eclectic specialties, like analyzing animal scats, tracking banana slugs, and admiring the graceful dance of nudibranchs, so please do ask!
Marketing Specialist - Member of the Management Team
Michelle joined Spirit Bear Lodge in the 2013 season and has been the face behind the emails ever since. Her passion for travel and adventure steered her to a diploma in tourism management in 2008 at Capilano University and has taken her to places such as New York, Mexico, Bermuda, England, and extensively throughout Canada (Coast to Coast!) When not in the office talking bears, she can be found taking care of her own two cubs at home.
Sales and Systems Specialist - Member of the Management Team
With a business management education, former business owner and adventure guide Bridget has worked in the tourism industry for 25 years. Having guided and lived throughout Canada and Internationally; adventure, culture and wild places are the common thread through it all. Her specialty lies in improving systems and business development.
If she isn't working in the industry she is playing in it, enjoying the snow, ocean and mountains with her family and friends. Bridget's passion remains the same, protect the environment by sharing it's importance with people who care.
Guide and Research Specialist
Mercedes has worked with Spiritbear Research, participated in the S.E.A.S program, and performed with the SUA youth group. You may have also seen Mercedes in the recent Great Bear Rainforest Imax film. Mercedes is extremely knowledgeable about her culture, and has spent many days exploring the river systems throughout Kitasoo/Xai’xais territory.
Ronald Lewis Neasloss
Louie grew up in Klemtu, but also has family ties to the Haisla Nation (Kitimaat). Louie holds the title as one of our skippers for our tourism vessels. He has been a boat operator for the lodge for three years, and loves to be out on the ocean as much as possible. One of the perks for Lou while working with us is that he gets the chance to meet new people from all over the world.
Missy has been a fixture at Spirit Bear for years. Missy keeps the dishes clean and likes to have a lot of fun. Missy is a part of the Spirit Bear Lodge family and loves to sing while she washes dishes and helps out around the lodge. Missy has also spent time performing with SUA. The lodge just wouldn’t be the same without Missy on the team, we are lucky to have her.
Bev started with SBL in the kitchen as a dishwasher. Inspired by her Brother David’s stories of guiding she quickly developed an interest in getting out in the field. Bev is in her second year as a guide and is loving it. Her excitement to see the amazing wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest is infectious.
David spent time creek walking to monitor salmon when he was younger which gave him an intimate knowledge of the wildlife, salmon, and river systems in his territory. Now David shares his passion for wildlife and his culture with our guests through storytelling, interpreting cultural sites, and guiding people into his territory. David is a gifted guide and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Spirit Bear Lodge team.
Sierra began working at Spirit Bear Lodge in 2012 as a Student Guide. In 2013, Sierra worked as a Student Research Field Technician for the Spirit Bear Research Foundation and has been working on-call seasonally for the Foundation since. She also completed an 8-week summer internship called Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards (SEAS) and talks about how amazingly shape-shifting the program was for her.
After completing high school in 2015 with a Dogwood Diploma at the local Kitasoo Community School in Klemtu she soon became a mother to her son Austin Robinson in July 2016. While becoming a young mom, Sierra decided to make some concrete career choices and began working for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Languages Working Group on Revitalizing Klemtu’s two native languages, Sgüüxs and Xai’xais.
Jazz has worked with the Sua and SEAS programs for a number of years and is now in her third year of guiding at Spirit Bear Lodge. Jazz loves spending time in the vast wilderness of her traditional territory, she is very knowledgeable, and proud of her culture. If your lucky enough to have Jazz as a guide during your stay you will have the privilege of getting to know this amazing young woman.
Guest Relations and Seasonal Accommodations
Elaine joined Spirit Bear Lodge in 2019 as an off season manager, helping prepare rooms and checking our guests in. She has 2 kids, Oliver and Isabelle. Her husband Justin has worked for SBL for 7 years.
Johnny has worked with Spirit Bear Lodge for several years. He began as a SUA and SEAS student and is now a guide. Johnny has great energy and is happy to share his culture and knowledge with our guests. He has grown up at Spirit Bear Lodge and become a valuable asset to our team.