Section 12
Environmental Concerns

Much of the allure for tourists visiting our area is northern Ontario’s pristine wilderness and remoteness. Without a doubt, the image of a windswept pine on a small rocky island with a loon floating nearby is Northern Ontario!

To promote and maintain this wilderness, outfitters must become stewards of their surrounding environment. Environmental stewardship involves the responsible management of natural resources; including proper waste management, energy conservation, and educating others to make smart environmental choices. Not only is environmental stewardship good for sustaining our unique wilderness, it is also good for our economic and social environment!

For the outfitter, there are several areas where sound environmental stewardship can occur. Most environmental concerns involve providing the customer with the essentials of life in a clean and healthy manner.


As a result of incidents like Walkerton, the regulations for providing drinking water to clients have changed. The great majority of outfitters will need to adhere to Ontario Regulation 319/08 which sets standards and rules for small drinking water systems. Small drinking water systems are also now administered by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care instead of the Ministry of the Environment.

If you want to learn more about drinking water systems you can check out the Ministry of the Health’s website:

For up to date information on small drinking water system and regulations, visit the link below: 


Wastes are stuff that you get rid of. Naturally, there are different types of wastes.


Most operators have their own septic systems. Septic systems are custom designed for each operation and their specific needs. Septic system design can be complicated and all septic systems must meet the requirements of the government. Most septic systems fall under the Building Code. In northern Ontario, septic systems are regulated by the local Health Unit or Conservation Authority.

The Ministry of the Environment has a Questions and Answers site for general information:


Garbage is where the 4 Rs come into play: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The 4 Rs are most effective when they are used in the order that is presented:

Refuse excessive packaging. (Or Rethink your purchase)

Reduce by buying in bulk.

Reuse items whenever possible. Repair items when you are able. Bring home items in manufacturer’s boxes or in cloth bags.

Recycle where ever possible.

Check out recycling programs in your area. Many outfitters go the extra mile by sorting and delivering recyclables to places outside of their area or by donating cans to local groups.

FACT: European visitors are particularly offended by lack of recycling facilities in our province!

Composting is also recycling. Composting can be done in a way as not to attract wildlife, OR it can be part of your customer’s wildlife viewing experience! 


Alternative energy or renewable energy is any type of energy that is not derived from fossil fuels. There are five main kinds of renewable energy: solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal and biomass. Depending on your location, you may be entirely off of “the grid” (Ontario’s hydroelectricity supply) or you may want to supplement your energy requirements with a renewable source for environmental reasons. There is plenty of information either on the web or in book form about particular renewable energy solutions. If you are serious about installing a renewable energy system it is best to have a knowledgeable company design a custom energy system for you. You can also design your own system with much research and study.

Here are a few web sites to get you interested and started on your path to an alternative energy solution:

Solar Energy

Solar Photovoltaic Energy | Applications

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is heat that is extracted from the ground. Geothermal heat is transferred to your facility from the ground or even a nearby lake, by using underground or underwater pipes and a heat pump.

Biomass Energy

Biomass or bioenergy is, for our purposes, the burning of fuel wood. Most tourist operations burn wood for heat, cooking or simply for creating atmosphere. Burning wood for heat is a science and there is always something to learn. To burn your wood in the most efficient way, check out:

A Guide to Residential Wood Heating.


Want to learn more and do more to become a greener operator? The following web sites will further open your mind:

The Green Pages - Canada’s environmental information portal (Ontario page)

Mountain Equipment Co-op - Green Building Program



Related Content

Alternative Energy Articles

Making Solar Work For You, from The Outfitter, by Jarret Hannah, Winter 2009

Operator Delighted with Renewable Energy Installation, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Fall 2008

Renewable Energy – a Financial and Environmental Winner, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Spring 2008

Designing a Renewable Energy System for a Main Base Lodge, from The Outfitter, Winter 2007

Power Output of Renewable Energy Systems, from The Outfitter, Spring 2007

Release of Renewable Energy DVD, from The Outfitter, Spring 2007

Solar Water Heating, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Fall 2006

More Talk on Renewable Energy, from The Outfitter, Spring 2006

Save Big on Energy Costs with Solar Hot Water, from The Outfitter, by EnerWorks Inc, Spring 2006

Storing Power in Batteries, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Spring 2006

Making the Move to Renewable Energy, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Winter 2005

EN-R-PAK: A New Compact Power Source For Outdoor Applications, from The Outfitter, May/June 1995

The Sun, Our Free Source of Energy, from The Outfitter, by Barbara Lang, September 1988

Drinking Water Articles

Understanding Different Aspects of New Drinking Water Regulations, from The Outfitter, Fall 2009

Understanding the Drinking Water Landscape, from The Outfitter, by Richard Clara, Spring 2009

Drinking Water Officially Moves to Local Health Units, from The Outfitter, Winter 2008

Drinking Water Update: Expect an On-Site Visit, from The Outfitter, Winter 2006

Drinking Water Testing – A Primer, from The Outfitter, by Richard Clara, Summer/Fall 2005

Is Chlorination the Way to Go?, from The Outfitter, May/June 2003


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