WildWays Adventure Sports and Tours: 20 years of environmental innovation

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
December 3rd, 2012

Bob and Lucinda Dupee are pioneers of the green business movement in our community.

Now in their 20th year, their eco-friendly business, WildWays Adventure Sports and Tours, continues to promote and advocate for eco-tourism in their hometown of Christina Lake.

So it was only fitting when they were recently awarded The Green Business Award, sponsored by The Boundary Sentinel at the annual Community Futures Boundary 2012 Community Awards held in late October.

“I was really happy because we’ve been running the green business since its inception and before there was a word green business, we’d already done that and it was part of our whole ethos,” said Bob during a private interview with The Boundary Sentinel.

Bob started the business 20 years ago, with Lucinda coming in about 10 years ago.

“I was on my way back from England and living there for seven years were I was working with young people, started a  youth work training program at Oxford and part of it was I wanted to continue working with kids and no one was going to pay me to do that,” said Bob. “So I started WildWays with the idea of doing biking, kayaking rentals and tours … The rental business quickly turned into a retail business because people would rent something and go ‘that was cool, where can I get one’. So bring in bikes, bring in kayaks and the clothing thing really started to explode because there was nobody really doing that stuff out here, it was just a big gap. There was nowhere to buy anything (recreational) except blow up toys at the gas station.”

Bob, an American who moved to Christina Lake as one of many back-to-the-landers who came here in the 1970s, found transitioning from operating an environmentally sensitive horse-logging business for 14 years to an eco-tourism business very natural.

WildWays always looking to the future

Bikes and kayaks have expanded into snowboarding and snowshoeing equipment and electric adaptors for bikes and stand-up paddle boards.

The electric bike attachments can be installed on any road bike and will give the cyclist an extra boost of between 10 and 20 kilometers an hour when they need it most.

“It always seems like the hill is the hurdle,” said Lucinda of people who want to use a bike for commuting. “More and more people are really looking for something more economical, especially with the price of gas. If you’ve never tried electric assistance, it’s a hoot!”

The clothing has also changed from more name brand recreational clothing to the unique, organic and environmentally-friendly products like sweaters from Nepal, the Old Guys Rule brand to a popular tourist t-shirt that says ‘Home of the BC Christina Lake Bud Bears’ and ‘Eat More Kale’ shirts from Vermont.

Lucinda said she likes to bring in clothing that can’t just be purchased online, while also being environmentally responsible.

The paddle boards have really taken off over the past few years. Like the electric bikes 12 years before, Bob and Lucinda were the first to bring the boards into our region.  The boards are just another innovative, green, person-powered sport that they’ve introduced into our region for locals and tourists alike.

Giving back to the community

From building trail systems to mentoring the next generation to promoting sustainable eco-tourism and transportation options, the Dupees have inspired other businesses to do the same.

Ron Liddle, owner of Kettle Valley Waste Ltd of Christina Lake nominated WildWays for the award.

“One of the most important ways WildWays has contributed to a sustainable community is the way in which, year after year, Bob and Lucinda have provided jobs and mentored young people in how to participate in a successful business,” wrote Liddle in his nomination.

“Many of these young people have gone on to successful careers themselves. I know from talking to them, that the experience of working in a business that contributed time, money and expertise to such activities and events as trail building, Winter Carnivals and Chamber of Commerce events shaped their ideas of how a business can make a difference in the life of the community.”

Besides building miles of trails systems throughout the lake area, Bob and Lucinda spearheaded the construction of the Christina Living Arts Center, the region’s greenest and most innovative building.

Their own repair shop uses earth friendly-cleaners and lubricants and their cleaning products and recycled paper products are biodegradable.

When not manning the shop, the two can be found as members of nearly every organization in Christina Lake, volunteering many of their valuable off-work hours to bettering the community.

To see more about WildWays go to www.wildways.com.