A brief introduction to the Spirit Bear Lodge guides and operations staff
As a community owned and operated eco-cultural tourism business on BC's beautiful central coast, the Spirit Bear Lodge mandate is to provide economic benefits and sustainable local employment to residents of Klemtu.
Most of our guides, boat operators, cooks and housekeeping staff are all year round residents in Klemtu and are proud to be providing unforgettable experiences to guests from around the world. Guests who travel to ancestral lands of the Kitasoo/Xai'xais in search of an authentic, aboriginal tourism in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest will be welcomed with the warm hospitality of not only our staff, but also the residents of this remote village on BC's Inside Passage. All of our guides are certified in marine and wilderness first aid.
Tim McGrady - General ManagerTim is the General Manager of Spirit Bear Lodge. He brings over twenty years of diverse experience in the tourism industry.
After completing a degree in biochemistry at the University of British Columbia in 1990, Tim began guiding sea kayak expeditions moving between Baja, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez in the winter and the west coast of Vancouver Island in the summer. He also led month long sailing, hiking and sea kayak expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Mexico, Alaska and coastal BC.
After a brief stint on faculty in the Tourism Department of North Island College on Vancouver Island, Tim began working at Knight Inlet Lodge, leading bear viewing and whale watching excursions. While at Knight Inlet Lodge he helped establish the Commercial Bear Viewing Association (CBVA) in collaboration with a number of other top bear viewing companies in BC.
After completing a Masters degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC in 2007, Tim took a hiatus from the tourism industry to work as a leadership development consultant in Latin America. Now back home in BC, Tim is looking forward to working with the Spirit Bear Lodge team and the Kitasoo/Xaixais community in Klemtu to continue building Spirit Bear Lodge into a world class international tourism destination. In the off-season, Tim lives with his wife Kelli and two boys Connor and Kai in Comox.
Vern Brown - Lead Guide
Vernon Brown is a Spirit Bear Lodge guide and cultural interpreter. Vernon is of Kitasoo ancestry and has spent much of his life in Klemtu. Vernon has been working with Spirit Bear Lodge for the past five years and has also worked with some of the most notable scientists, naturalists, and cultural and ethno geographers. He is a knowledgeable and experienced tour guide and he enjoys sharing knowledge with guests. Vernon is a qualified bear-viewing guide with the Commercial Bear Viewing Association and holds other industry certifications including wilderness first aid.
Charlie Mason - Boat CaptainCharlie has been working with Spirit Bear Lodge since 1999 and is a hereditary chief of the Xai’xais First Nation. Charlie is our tourism boat operator, guide and amazing storyteller of his people’s history. Charlie’s quiet confidence is apparent in all of his interactions with guest, who listen attentively to his stories as they travel throughout the vast traditional territory of his people.
Charlie, who has lived in Klemtu his entire life, is the head of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Spirit Bear Song and Dance Group, who perform in the Klemtu Big House, as well as at cultural events throughout the province of British Columbia .
Along with his role in tourism in the summer season, Charlie manages the Robinson/Mason grocery store throughout the year. He holds Small Vessel Operators Proficiency certificate and marine advanced first aid certificate.
Jamie Scarrow - Lead Guide
With over a decade working in the field as an adventure tourism guide and naturalist, Jamie Scarrow has gained a deep understanding of the natural world. He began his career as a naturalist guide in Knight Inlet, a coastal fiord in British Columbia, which is home to a healthy population of Grizzly bears, Bald eagles and Orca (Killer Whales). For five years, Jamie also worked in Churchill, Manitoba as a polar bear guide and naturalist; and in the past four years, his winters have been spent as guide, naturalist and zodiac driver in Antarctica. Jamie is an ambassador for the conservation and protection of the natural world. Jamie is also co-founder with his wife Erin of Wild Focus Tours, offering year round photography tours in some of the most exotic and remote locations on the planet.
Murray Barton - Boat Captain
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.
Philip Charles - GuideGrowing up in the town of Ipswich, in the United Kingdom, Philip's love for nature took him to nearby Otley College where he completed a National Diploma in Animal Management. This love affair then took him to the University of Cumbria where he studied Animal Conservation Science with the National School of Forestry. Modules on his degree program included conservation biology, ecology, animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, behavioural applications for conservation and a final year thesis that explored predator-prey relationships in barn owls (Tyto alba). He graduated in 2011. While at University, Philip also completed an intensive study program in the Pindos National Park, Greece and an Applied Field Studies module in Bandhavgarh National Park, India. In addition to his guiding work, Phil works closely with the Spirit Bear Research Foundation and runs the youth oriented SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards) program in Klemtu
Whitney Sadowski is a new addition to the Spirit Bear Lodge team. Having just completed guide training in Klemtu, she is working as an assistant bear guide mentoring under our senior guides. She has recently finished school and moved from Surrey, BC back to her ancestral home in Klemtu. Within a few short months of being back in Klemtu, she has re-awakened a love of the land and water surrounding her ancestral home.
Whitney Sadowski - Assistant Guide
Being a part of the Kitasoo lineage, Whitney has developed a passion to learn and share her Nations's traditions, culture, history and ethnobotany. A real highlight for Whitney was being in the company of wild grizzly bears this summer while working as a field technician intern with the Spirit Bear Research Foundation . Whitney is looking forward to being a part of the Spirit Bear Lodge team, where she says 'it will be filled with new adventures and exciting experiences!'