Stories from Alaska

An insider's journey through Alaska's best kept secrets

How to Travel Sustainably in Alaska

With millions of trees and endless acres of tundra, grass, flora, fauna and plant-life blanketing the state, Alaska might be considered the original “green travel” destination. Today, many of Alaska’s tourism-focused businesses and professionals have added a new definition to what green travel in Alaska means: travel practices that encourage economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability or “Sustainable Tourism”.

Adventure Green Alaska (AGA) defines Sustainable Tourism as, “travel to natural areas that are beneficial to the local economies, respectful of the environment, and sensitive to indigenous cultures.” AGA, founded in 2009 and now partnered with the Alaska Tourism & Industry Association (ATIA), is Alaska’s only sustainable certification program. Adventure Green Alaska endorses Alaska travel industry businesses that meet their high sustainability standards, designating them as “progressive companies that believe outstanding Alaska experiences can be sustainable and of benefit to visitors and hosts alike.”

“Green Travel” and “Sustainable Tourism”, while an increasingly popular and growing trend among visitors to Alaska, are a longstanding practice among Alaska residents. For some Alaska residents, sustainability awareness, green lifestyles, and respect for Alaska’s land, history and cultures are, well, simply-put, their way of life. Many Alaska-based travel businesses have already embraced a sustainability focus or are transitioning in this direction. There are dozens of AGA-certified Sustainable Tourism operators offering the very best of Alaska experiences and adventures to visitors while also operating sustainably.

Even getting to, from and around Alaska means going green these days: major airlines and cruise ship operators, as well as smaller flightseeing, tour bus and boat businesses, are transforming their transportation methods through technology and carbon offset programs to shrink their carbon footprints and reach new clean, green climate standards and goals.

Kirk Hoessle of AGA-certified Alaska Wildland Adventures with his solar and hydro-powered energy solutions at Kenai Backcountry Lodge.

Alaska travelers can do their part, as well. Adventure Green Alaska asks visitors to “consider the social, environmental, and economic effects of their vacation choices” when coming to Alaska and choosing their journeys.

Alaska Tours can easily connect travelers seeking sustainable travel options in Alaska to many AGA-certified tour and activity operators that offer sought-after Alaska’s travel highlights: wildlife viewing from the ground and air, glacier viewing and excursions, active mountain and mushing trips, fishing charters and kayaking trips, riding on the Alaska Railroad or skiing down Mt. Alyeska, remote wilderness lodges and in-town accommodations, cultural and science learning opportunities, and so much more. Just ask our travel consultants for assistance with this, and we’re happy to help. And do read our own company Sustainability Policy.

AGA-certified Alaska Railroad, GoldStar car view.

When Alaska travel industry’s businesses and professionals meet the standards and match the passions for sustainable tourism set by organizations like AGA and its certified partners, and that spirit is then shared and magnified by Alaskans and Alaska’s visitors, America’s 49th state can remain one of the world’s special green places for generations to come.