Corona Virus. It’s a crappy thing.
When this is all said and done we hope we never hear that word again. We might not even drink the drink.
These are hard times for a lot of us. They’re scary and uncertain and let’s be honest. They’re downright sh#!ty.
Tourism is about the worst business to be in at the moment. We don’t know what’s going to happen with our summer and if rafting will be able to go or not. We rely on people being able to travel and we know that’s not top of mind for many.
We know we’re not alone. It’s a scary time to be a front line worker, a first responder, a pharmacist, a grocery store worker or a shop owner. So many of us are affected in so many different ways and the trickiest part is the uncertainty.
When will this all be over? Or at least when will we be able to operate somewhat ‘normally’?
We don’t have the answers to these questions, no one seems to. What we do know is that a lot of people and businesses are struggling, and there are things we can do to help.
We can help now in the moment, and also when we have more freedom in our movements and decisions.
Here are 5 ideas of what we can do to help support our local businesses and communities. Both now and when the pandemic ends.
1. Travel your own backyard
When restrictions are lifted and we have more freedom to come and go, it’s going to feel GREAT to stretch our legs.
We’re going to want to be out exploring and adventuring too, and we’re going to put our focus on the places that surround us.
Yes, we like flying to far off, remote places too. Travelling to learn about different countries and cultures is important, and the time for that will come again.
Now is not the time. Flights are grounded and international borders are closed anyways, so white sand beaches and far away mountains aren't even an option.
Local travel is where it's at! This will be possible before anything else so it’s the PERFECT time to explore the areas around you.
Everywhere in the world has been affected by Covid. Why not support the little towns and businesses in your own backyard? It'll bring some much needed income to local attractions, activities, accommodators and restaurants.
Even though we’ve lived in Golden for a long time we know there are areas we haven’t discovered.
They sometimes aren't considered when you're making 'travel plans'. We’ve been thinking about places near to us and here are 5 that made the list.
1. Valhalla Provincial Park
When we think of Valhalla we see big peaks, hiking, canoeing and mountain goats. We’ve never been there but it’s been on the list for quite some time.
2. Thunderwater Lakes
How can you not want to visit a place with the name Thunderwater? It's only 90 minutes south of Golden so it'll be an easier getaway when we have a couple days.
3. Howse Pass Hike
A hike of great historical significance, this route takes you from the Blaeberry in Golden, BC to Saskatchewan Crossing in Alberta. Lots to learn and see on this one.
4. Wells Grey Provincial Park
A large wilderness park in east-central BC. Hiking, canoeing, rafting, camping and sightseeing. It's right up our alley and hard to believe we haven’t spent any time here.
5. Bella Coola
Not in our immediate backyard, but still within our province. Bella Coola is another paradise we want to discover. Coastal mountains, glacial rivers, hiking trails, wildlife and waterfalls.
Why not make your own list of places you’d love to see. Whether they’re right there, an easy day trip, or will take you to another region of the province, there are SO many options.
If international guests can’t come here, it’s also the perfect time to have these spaces more to yourself.
2. Shop local. Amazon is going to be just fine.
Amazon has its perks. We get it. Everything you could possibly need, it’s easy, convenient and you don’t even need to leave the couch.
It does have its place. Golden is a small town and we know sometimes you can’t always find what you’re looking for.
BUT - a lot of what you need IS here.
Before adding another book, tool or pair of headphones to your cart, consider if you can find it locally.
Does your town have a local book shop? Try to find your books there. Need crafting supplies? Try a local supply shop or dollar store. Going to build something? Head to your independent hardware store.
Think about your local gear shop, repair shop, supply shop and flower shop before supporting the big corporations and chains.
When it's all said and done they’re going to be just fine. It’s the small mom and pop shops that need our support. Now more than ever!
3. Try a new experience in the area you live
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t been able to make it work?
Want to try a new experience, learn a new skill, take some courses or expand on a hobby?
Take a cooking class, a flower arranging workshop, sign up to learn a new language or hop in a boat and try whitewater rafting.
If something interests you it’s worth exploring, and you’ll be supporting a local business at the same time.
Wanting to exercise a bit more or move your body? Maybe now’s the time to support a local gym or join a dance class. Even if you can’t go there in person, lots of places are offering online classes and workshops.
Have fun, try new experiences and support those in your community who need it!
If they aren’t operating at the moment, can you sign up for a future class, buy a gift certificate, purchase an online workshop or virtual experience?
There are options.
4. Eat and Drink Local
We know a lot of dining options are on hold for the moment, but they won’t be forever. And a lot of them are providing take out options.
See if your favourite pizza shop, Indian restaurant or cafe has to go options. Can you support your local micro brewery by finding them at the liquor store, or buying some bottles to go?
Every little town (or at least all the ones we can think of) have restaurants and cafes that are owned by community members. They aren’t big chains or corporations, and supporting them will be a bigger boost than grabbing some McDicks or KFC.
We get that money might be tight and we’re all consuming less than normal.
If there is a night you’re going to treat yourself, see if you can grab something from a small business option.
We love that Indian Kitchen is our next door neighbour here in Golden and we want them to be here when all is said and done.
We don’t feel guilty at all for supporting them because it’s good for them and important to us. If we want the businesses we love to be here down the road, they do need our support.
5. Support local farmers and artisans
Days are warming up and summer’s getting closer. That means farmers market season is right around the corner.
There’s nothing better than carrots, tomatoes and strawberries straight from the garden. We know we always look forward to buying fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies.
We try to buy a lot of our soaps and other bath products at our local markets too. We get bread and lip chap and always seem to leave with some home baked treats.
If you need to buy a gift or are looking to jazz up your house, there are a lot of talented local artisans. Look for artwork, pottery, jewellry or fresh flowers.
See if you can find what you're looking for locally before heading out to other stores.
And there we go. This list isn’t exhaustive, there are so many ways to be creative. Tell someone you appreciate them, thank people for the work they do, or deliver some treats to those you know are working hard.
Our 5 suggestions on how to support local businesses is relevant now more than ever. But, even when Covid is a thing of the past, these suggestions still stand true.
It’s important to carry on supporting local and helping small business owners. It’s good for your community, better for the environment and will strengthen the place you call home.
We all want to live in vibrant, healthy and thriving communities. If we want our favourite bakery or cafe to stick around, to be able to go rafting on our favourite river, or workout at our favourite gym, we need to do our part now.
When the time is right and the option is there, let’s all do what we can to help each other make it to the other side.
We hope we get to spend time with you on the Kicking Horse River soon. Until that time comes, stay healthy and safe! We're rooting for you all.
Cheers from all of us here at Glacier Raft Company