Off Road Segway Tours in the Shuswap – The Infamous Adams River (Roderick Haig-Brown Prov. Park)


DSC_8734When Barb Rivest, owner/operator of Unique Adventure Tours in the Shuswap offered me a sponsored, Off-Road Segway Tour around the riparian zone of the infamous Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, I was hyped! The park,  named after a famous BC writer and conservationist  is known as the top ranking conservation area of the world’s largest sockeye salmon spawning grounds. Every four years, the glass-like water of the Adams River is agitated into a red frenzy of life and death; the bodies of both sexes turn crimson red with lime-green heads and tails and this is the only time the males grow canine teeth and humps on their backs to help fend off other males.  When the spawn is said and done, roughly 200 fry from the 4000 eggs one female lays will have survived to attempt to make their way back to the ocean.

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British Columbia is one of those rare places where Responsible Tourism is first and foremost on any locals mind. The word conservation rolls off the tongue quite fluidly in everyday conversation. We pride ourselves on our ability to protect fragile ecosystems, environments and Culture; yet still share it with millions of international visitors yearly.

Responsible Tourism means that you are not only conscious of  your travel style and how it impacts society and the environment, but whether a service provider is mindful as well.

There is much to see and learn in British Columbia; and ways to do it with the least amount of impact.

If you are a nature lover, one of the best ways to discover natural conservation efforts at RH-B Prov. Park is an off-road Segway Tour.DSC_8676

A horse wrangler from the age of 11 to 21, a  veteran outdoor adventure guide, Barb has over 40 years combined experience; from whitewater rafting tours in the Fraser Canyon, 14 seasons spent in Hell’s Gate, to rock climbing walls in the Shuswap.

Barb is not only a wealth of information on the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park and the world-renowned salmon spawn but an advocate for conservation in the area, the Ambassador so to speak, and it was a pleasure to meet her.

Former vice president of the BCROA (BC River Outfitters Association), she is also a member of the development team for the current management plan for the park.

Rivest is one of the many service providers who understands the importance of Responsible Tourism in B.C. and says, “Our fragile environment needs us all to be advocates  for the conservation of our planet [and] our home. What better way to showcase the magnificence of nature  than to provide innovative and fun ways to enjoy it with zero emissions and minimal energy.”DSC_8727

The first Segway model was designed by Inventor Dean Kamen for city dwellers. It has a smaller base and tires and can fit through doorways. Used in most countries around the world except Canada, our government has yet to realize the many benefits regarding low emissions and traffic jams.  Although it is illegal to operate on city streets or sidewalks, the Segway can be used for recreation. Barb’s off-road versions have a hefty price tag of $7300.00 and she is one of the very few off-road providers in the Province.DSC_8714

If you have the co-ordination to place two feet on the ground and not fall over you are made for a Segway Tour. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and not quite as easy as it looks, but in no time flat you will discover this two-wheeled machine has become an extension of your body and seems to operate telepathically; the gyroscopes and sensors in the base are so sensitive and tuned in to your movements it becomes effortless. The trick? Don’t think about riding, just think about moving and which direction you want to go. I was so comfortable after a very short period I was riding without hands (don’t try this) and taking pictures of people in front me! (sorry Barb ;))DSC_8650DSC_8698

Countless apprehensive souls of all ages and abilities have been astounded at how fast they become one with the Segway.” You won’t want it to end and I was no exception! I wish there were a club for this soft-sport so I could cross-country race!DSC_8690

With an informative, low risk and well thought out orientation, Barb puts your mind at ease. A preliminary tour on well manicured trails helps to build your confidence for the second leg. Along the way she may have you sample some bitter-sweet Oregon Grape and offer some insight into the world of local Fauna and rare plants in the area due to the overlap of geographical wet and dry zones. You’ll stop at a little bridge to admire the beaver house, dam and the bountiful forget-me-nots that flourish in the transparent water. I image the salmon hide among the leaves, but this day none were to be seen. The BIG spawn, will take place in the fall of 2014.DSC_8724

As sun-rays dance among the old growth cedar and deciduous trees such as the mighty cotton-wood, some, hollowed-out homes to bats and squirrels, and the aroma of warm cedar resin fills your senses, you will be serenaded by an orchestra of native birds; from yellow finch like those you’d find in a pet store, to the dark-eyed junco, osprey and eagles. Perhaps, you’ll even spot a white-tailed deer or indications of black bear to excite your imagination. Maybe, like my day, the animals will elude you and you’ll simply be lost in thought to the tranquility and peacefulness of the forest. Either way I’m sure you’ll consider returning – before you even leave the property.
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Unique Adventure Tours Mission Statement: To provide innovative, eco-friendly avenues to showcase the beautiful outdoors in the Thompson, Shuswap, Okanagan region of BC. To offer unique and thrilling adventures, suitable for first timers and return guests alike. To have qualified staff and a  small guide to client ratio,  paramount to our professional, friendly environment. To enlighten the captive audience (our guests) about the region’s world famous Adams River sockeye salmon run, whereby inspiring preservation of the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park and all wild lands.

Thank You Barb! With a mission statement and business practice such as yours, I will be recommending your tours to my readers. You deserve the 1Life196Countries “Responsible Tourism” seal of approval!seal of approval

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