This research examined the potential spatial and management implications of cruise ship passenger activity in mid and back-country regions of the North Coast of British Columbia. Research efforts included case study reviews of three prominent Alaskan cruise ports. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping was used to display shore excursion spatial patterns, while land and resource management challenges were compiled and categorized. This information was used as a guide for examining potential development patterns on the North Coast land and resource base.
Discussions with key North Coast informants, a review of current cruise ship development plans, and examination of spatial tourism data provided an understanding of regional conditions. Through the integration of existing tourism information for the North Coast with Alaskan findings, the potential spatial patterns of cruise ship passenger activity were developed. In addition, the range of management challenges related to cruise passenger activity outside of front-country regions were presented in a North Coast context. Research findings indicated most potential shore excursion activity would be concentrated within relatively close proximity to the port destination. However, tours to unique or charismatic destinations at significant distances from the port could be expected.
This study revealed that a high quality land and resource base will need to be maintained to support a viable cruise ship industry in the North Coast. The identified spatial patterns highlight probable use zones, while the discussion of management challenges and potential mitigation highlight potential challenges for mid and back-country locations. This information, when considered in land use planning processes, should enable more sustainable forms of development.