Supporting the operation and building a place for ecotourism on the coast.
CEO, co-owner, expedition leader, captain (Maple Leaf)
An adventurer and explorer all his life, and a professional mariner since the age of 18, Kevin is the leader of Maple Leaf Adventures, and one of its owners. His experience as a geographer, backcountry park ranger and teacher all contribute to his vision for this respected ecotourism organization. Kevin continues Maple Leaf’s long tradition of building the framework for ecotourism on the coast, and he is an executive member of many industry organizations including a director of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC and the Gwaii Haanas Tour Operators Association, and a co-founder and director of the Commercial Bear Viewing of BC.
“Being open with your so-called competitors can help you create outrageous, never-before-dreamed successes together.”
Kevin taught high school youth and subsequently adults, when he developed and taught the Ecotourism for Entrepreneurs course for North Island College in British Columbia. His 5-year tenure as a negotiator on the central coast (Great Bear Rainforest) land use plan brings a rare depth of understanding to the area’s history and current situation and resulted in his pioneering the use of protocol agreements with the region’s Indigenous nations when he took over Maple Leaf Adventures 20 years ago.
One of his career highlights so far has been envisioning and co-leading a great industry collaboration to clean the marine debris from the Great Bear Rainforest coast during the covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the removal of 750,000 pounds (337 metric tonnes) of debris – 60% of which was recycled — in an epic expedition that saved companies and over 100 coastal jobs, protected wildlife, and strengthened trust and relationships between so-called “competitors” and “regulators” — the Small Ship Tour Operators Association of BC, Coastal First Nations governments and communities, and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. This effort inspired a multimillion dollar, multi-year clean-up movement along the coast and raised the spirits of countless people whose livelihoods were threatened by the pandemic closures.
Kevin’s extensive marine experience began with family cruising (under sail) while growing up on this coast. To pay for his university degree he took any job that involved being on the ocean. Skill and experience developed from years as a rowing coach and sailing instructor, a Coast Guard rescue training officer and rescue boat coxswain, fisheries research vessel Captain, backcountry (marine) Park Ranger, sail training instructor, and captain on passenger carrying vessels. He is a senior bear guide certified by the Commercial Bear Viewing Association.
Kevin was raised on Salt Spring Island in the southern Gulf Islands, and, following his formal education, he was employed for a decade by the B.C. government to steward the marine parks of northern Vancouver Island and southern Great Bear. He is a strong advocate for protecting the coast. As Maple Leaf’s owner since 2001, he has continuously explored the breadth of this, North America’s last great rainforest, from Victoria to Sitka, Alaska. As an expedition leader and captain, he is a genial host whose love of B.C. and Alaska’s wilderness places is infectious.
Fellow, Royal Canadian Geographical Society BA Geography (University of Victoria) Full Bear Guide (Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC) 60 ton Masters Limited (Transport Canada) 60 ton Small Vessel Machinery Operator (Transport Canada) Advanced Wilderness First Aid for Leaders (Slipstream) CPR, Oxygen, AED Dive Master (PADI) Backcountry recreation and tourism representative, Great Bear Rainforest land use plan Co-founder and director, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC Director, Wilderness Tourism Association of BC
Maureen grew up, like most coastal children, influenced by the beaches, ocean, and rainforest of British Columbia.
After professional work in the journalism, publishing and high-tech industries, she joined her now-husband, Kevin, in building the eco-expedition cruise company, Maple Leaf Adventures.
Maple Leaf is a pioneer in developing conservation-based travel in British Columbia and Alaska. The company was designed from the inside out as an ecotourism company in 1986 — a long time before it was cool to be green. It has a reputation for superb quality and integrity, and as such, Maple Leaf’s principles are happy to talk about issues to
media — whether they be about the value of wildlife viewing versus trophy hunting; the value of conservation-based economies; or the astonishing come-back of baleen whales on the BC coast.
Maureen and her husband are not ones to shy from a challenge. They resolved to create a flourishing employer and force for good from their company that, as one flabbergasted person in 2001 said, “takes people in the fall, on a boat in the rain, ‘way up the central coast, to sit in the forest and look at a bear”. Twenty years on, they’ve won more than a dozen awards, grown the company to 20x what it was then, and they employ dozens of skilled coastal residents while continuing to build conservation business with their colleagues along the coast. All while maintaining two of Canada’s heritage vessels as certified passenger vessels as well as one newer expedition catamaran in one of the world’s toughest regulatory environments.
In addition to helping to develop and manage the company, Maureen is an experienced freelance writer and speaker. She is chair of the board of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, an amazing, science-based conservation group and one of the recipients of Maple Leaf Adventures’ donations.
She lives in British Columbia, Canada.
BA, University of Victoria
Assistant Bear Guide, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC
Small Vessel Operators Proficiency, Transport Canada
Marine Medical and Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Alert First Aid
Marine Emergency Duties A2, Transport Canada
Fellow, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Cameron St. John
Cameron is Maple Leaf Adventures’ vice-president.
Chef. James joined the Maple Leaf Adventures team in 2013 and has been cooking on the remote west coast of British Columbia for 20 years. With a background in art and music James brings a strong creative edge to his culinary creations. A talented chef, James began working aboard SV Maple Leaf before shifting to MV Swell. Now, James can be found in the office, leading and supporting the other chefs with his immense knowledge of the areas and role as Food & Beverage Manager, enjoying the planning process as well as providing beautiful and delicious meals. Interesting fact: Jacques Cousteau is James’ hero. A fitting match for a man at sea.
Red Seal Chef Food Safe Marine First Aid Marine Emergency Duties A2
Jordan is our digital marketing specialist, a man behind much of our online communications, social media and paid advertising. Growing up in landlocked Manchester, Jordan didn’t catch the bite of the travel bug until his adult years, when he headed to Southeast Asia with nothing but the backpack on his shoulders, making his way down to Melbourne, Australia where he cultivated his marketing craft. During this tenure he had the opportunity to work with the likes of Virgin Holidays, FIJI Water and New Zealand adventurewear brand Kathmandu.
While part of our office-bound crew, Jordan has been journeyed many corners of the globe, from driving the length of the Australian outback to scuba diving remote Polynesian islands. He can agree though that there’s nowhere quite like British Columbia: “Bringing awareness to this incredible corner of the coast, and enabling folks to go out and see it in a regenerative way – it’s a dream come true.”
Outside of his professional life Jordan is passionate about the environment, having offered pro bono social media and content support for non-profits such as Greening Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation. This passion extends offline too, as a regular attendee of Sea Shepard beach clean-ups during his time in Australia, and a hobbiest wildlife photographer and digital illustrator.
LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY, BA BUSINESS STUDIES (HONS)
FIRST CLASS (4.0 GPA EQUIVALENT)
September 2010 – July 2013
Certifications in Google AdWords, Google Analytics, LinkedIn for Business, and Graphic Design.
Michelle is an Operations Specialist.