Our team

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 Manager

Tim 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

Vern Brown Spirit Bear Adventures Assistant GuideVernon 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 Captain

Spirit Bear Adevntuers Staff - Charlie MasonCharlie 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

Spirit Bear Lodge Staff - Jamie Scarrow

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 - Guide

Growing 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 - Assistant Guide

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.

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!'



Christopher Arends - Assistant Guide

Dedicated to the outdoors, Chris spent ten years with the Canadian military learning many survival skills. After leaving the military, Chris went back to school and recently graduated from the Coastal Adventure Tourism program at North Island College in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Through this program he has gained certification in Small Vessel Operation, Wilderness First Aid, VHF Radio Operation, and Marine Emergency Duties, as well as sailing, kayaking and canoeing certifications. Having spent so much time in the outdoors, he is excited for the opportunity to share his extensive knowledge with others. He also loves animals and photography which makes Spirit Bear Lodge the perfect place to be!


 

Krista Duncan - Assistant Guide

Krista Robinson, born and raised in Klemtu, is a guide at Spirit Bear Lodge.  She also happens to be the proud mother of four children. She is certified as a small vessel boat operator and has extensive training and certification in Advanced First Aid and is licensed as an EMR Paramedic Level 1. Krista is also active as a Field Technician with the non-profit Spirit Bear Research Foundation. Her prior experience includes work with the local health clinic and five years with Marine Harvest Canada. She loves being outdoors and amongst wildlife and loves sharing that passion with others. She looks forward to making new friends and helping our guests create lifelong memories here in the Great Bear Rainforest.



Nolan Gagnon - Head Chef

Nolan has many years experience working as a chef and baker in some of the most remote areas of Canada. One of his passions as you can see from his bio photo is baking bread. His work has taken him into a variety of other First Nations community before Klemtu, including with the Gitanyow and Kitsumkalum in Northern BC and the Inuktitut on East Baffin Island in the Canadian High Arctic. He is passionate about working and travelling to remote areas and meeting new people and learning about new lands and the heritage of the people who inhabit them. Spirit Bear Lodge is very pleased to have a chef of Nolan's caliber working with us to create memorable experiences in our dining room.



Colleen Starr - Housekeeper

Colleen works year round in the operation. During tourism season, she does a little bit of everything from working in the kitchen to housekeeping to acting as evening hostess. She has even been known to fill in as acting assistant manager! In our tourism off-season, Colleen attends to housekeeping for all of the government and corporate guests who stay at Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu during the winter. She describes her passion as her family and friends, playing volleyball, going for walks, boating and going fishing with her husband Paul. Colleen's daughter Leanne also works at Spirit Bear Lodge in the dining room. At the end of the day, when all our boats are back in dock, she enjoys listening to them tell tales about their day's adventures.



Leanne Reandy - Guest Services - Dining Room

Leanne describes her "absolute favourite thing in the world" as seeing bears. She says, "Nothing compares to being out and about in nature and getting to see my favourite animal in the world!" She also loves looking up at the moon and the stars on clear Klemtu nights. She enoys reading and writing stories. Leanne's mother Colleen is a housekeeper at Spirit Bear Lodge. She describes her heritage as a unique combination of First Nations, East Indian and Irish.



Elissa Crouse - Housekeeper

Elissa was born and raised in Eastern Canada but fell in love with the west coast before she even had a chance to lay eyes on it. After studying the coastal temperate rainforest at university, it became her goal to make this magical part of the world her new home. Now she lives to explore it's wild places. When not working at Spirit Bear Lodge, Elissa runs her own 'green' housekeeping company in Victoria, BC.



George Robinson - Big House Tour Leader

George is a gentle giant of a man who loves to lead interpretive tours of the Kitasoo/Xaixais Big House for both Spirit Bear Lodge guests and for tourists who ply the Inside Passage on private yachts and sailboats. His father was the well-respected elder Francis Robinson and it is from Francis that George has learned much about his Xaixais ancestry. George was born in Klemtu and is a proud member of the Spirit Bear Performance Group who perform drumming and dancing at potlatches and village feasts. He also works in the kitchen at Spirit Bear Lodge.




Jalen Robinson - Student Guide

Jalen is a student at the Kitasoo Community School and joins us for his third season learning the ropes as the next generation of Kitasoo/Xaixais Bear Guide. He completed his bear guide training with Doug Neasloss and enjoys getting out with our senior guides and learning as much as he can. He also enjoys getting out with his dad, our skipper Tony 'Gaga' Robinson.






Cameron Robinson - Junior Wildlife Spotter

Cameron is 9 years old and can spot wildlife like no one we've ever seen. Out with 8 bear guides one day on a training run cruising the inlet at 30 knots, he spotted a Spirit Bear on the shore. We hired him on the spot. He often joins his Grandfather, Papa Murray - skipper Murray Barton, on board. Whenever Cam is aboard we see orca, humpbacks, bears and many species of birds and its usually him that spots them first. We are looking forward to the day when we can promote him to a lead guide position.