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9 Coastal Wonders To See Now

Authors Heather Hansen and Kimberly Lisagor have traveled the world investigating coastal sites that are as stunning as they are endangered. Here, they share advice for planning an eco-sensitive trip―and how you can help.

Inside Passage, British Columbia
Photo: Alaska Stock Images/National Geographic Stock

Inside Passage, British Columbia 

Why go? Much of the storied Inside Passage route between Washington and Alaska looks as it has for centuries. At water level, you’re privy to evergreen forests on the shoreline, orcas blasting plumes of water into the air, and striated glaciers with jagged bluish peaks that crash at the melting edges.

Why care? Unfortunately, visiting cruise ships trail a hazardous mess in their wake. On a typical weeklong journey, passengers produce sewage, gray water, and many tons of trash―and a disturbing amount of it is dumped at sea. The disposal laws are much stricter in the United States, which means Canadian waters likely bear the brunt of the toxic load.

Plan your trip: The B.C. coastline is at its sunniest May through September. With an eco-friendly, small ship company like AdventureSmith Explorations (adventuresmithexplorations.com), you’ll have access to narrow nooks where the big ships can’t fit.

How to help: Check out Friends of the Earth (foe.org) to learn about efforts to help regulation and enforcement.

More Ways To Get Coastal Living

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