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Salt Spring Island Women Paddling Inside Passage to Alaska

Leonie Mahlke and Rebecca Grim are paddling from Salt Spring Island, B.C., to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.

Their kayak journey will help them to listen and document voices of the Inside Passage, bringing awareness to why the area is so tremendously important and deserves to be protected.

Their kayak adventures started when a mutual friend took them out on the protected waters of the surrounding islands. Since then, they have gone on several short and long distance trips.

Through kayaking, they have become more aware of the various threats these waters are now facing: they have paddled past fish farms, masses of garbage and some of the large vessels that are frequently traveling through the fragile passages of the Inside Passage.

They have organized local shore garbage clean-ups, raised funds for the proper disposal of hazardous garbage, participated in events to support First Nations and worked for non-profits.

They have launched from Salt Spring Island to paddle through the waterways of the Inside Passage, a network of passages stretching from northwestern Washington to southeast Alaska.

This partially protected coastline is one of the most uniquely raw and wild places in the world. Their trip will amounts to over 2,500 kilometres and will take four months.

“We intend to visit communities and research stations along the way to interview women, who are working towards the protection of the Inside Passage and are spearheading projects at the front lines.”