GeoNest Lodge will be a unique wilderness lodge located on a remote island in Nunavut Coastal waters two km North of Hubbard Point. This lodge will be an off grid wilderness lodge with semi permanent structures and wooden platforms capable of dismantling and assembling within a few weeks. Solar, wind and gas powered, our goal is to make this lodge as eco friendly as possible, leaving little to no impact on the land. Waste will be loaded on to boats and disposed of in Churchill two hours to the south, leaving our footprint on the island to the minimum. With access from Churchill and Arviat via boat or helicopter the lodge should serve as a primary polar bear viewing destination for guests from around the world as well as a base for researchers and scientists who want to study polar bear migrations, summer habits, as well as the effects of climate change on the Western Hudson Bay. A satellite and radio connection on the island will establish an emergency safety corridor for boaters between Churchill and Arviat as well as a pit stop for passing by Inuit hunters when necessary.
Having camped and studied the bears in this area for over two years we are very familiar with this island and its wildlife and as such we see tremendous potential in having a scientific/tourist base in this part of the Hudson Bay. We have applied for lease from the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada who have given us the green light to lease the area necessary to build improvements and build a boat dock and wooden platforms in 2022. However we would like access to the island as a whole to ensure it is used to its fullest potential. In more detail our activities on Fireweed Island can be divided between two categories, Tourism and Research. The outcome and long lasting stability of the project and our activities being heavily tied to immediate interest in this area both from Tourism and Natural History sector during the next three years.
Film and Tourism
With over 50+ years combined experience in photography, film, and marketing; as well as over 10 years experience in wilderness tourism in the Canadian Arctic Martin and Martin are the perfect due for this project. They’re publications from the polar bears on Fireweed Island going on to inspire world renown magazines and organizations like Canadian Geographic, GEO, National Geographic, BBC, and many others; planting the seed for GeoNest Lodge and this project.
Over the next year we hope to take all our experience from working within the various industries and Nunavut communities and build an environmental friendly lodge that will help support and grow not just the tourism of Nunavut, but also its documentary film and tv industry. Being in charge of research and logistics for various landmark series in the UK, Martin Jr already has a various productions inquiring about filming on Fireweed Island in 2023 and 2024. Being able to build a secure base on the island that would enable the support of these film crews would only add to the future stability of GeoNest Lodge operations in Nunavut. Having a base on Fireweed Island would also enable us to employ guides in neighbouring communities of Arviat and Churchill as well as potentially expand our operations to other parts of Nunavut in the future.
Along side working with world renown natural history productions in the UK we also already work with high end clients in Europe, North America and Asia; and while we expect to be working at capacity with film crews during the first year of operations we already have a tremendous amount of interest from the tourism industry. Following the release of images from Fireweed Island in 2021 by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition we have seen an influx in interest for luxury adventure tourism in Nunavut. Later this year our story from the polar bears and from Fireweed Island will get published by two of the worlds biggest wildlife magazines, further solidifying our interest in Fireweed Island and the future of tourism in this region. Our clients from BUBO, Cazenove + Loyd, ADAC and various individuals from across the world are patiently waiting to visit this area and see the polar bears in the wildflowers.
Working and living in this area for over 2 years between 2020 and 2021, nothing has sparked our interest more than the Polar Bears. Too far for any research team, our operations have been largely based on photo and film documentations of various individuals in the hopes of cataloging them for future reference. With the ability to build a semi permanent base on Fireweed Island would enable us to expand our research and actually study the migration patterns, numbers, and summer/winter behaviour of Polar Bears from yet another part of the Hudson Bay.
While most of the research on these animals has been focused on Cape Churchill and Polar Bears International we hope to build an independent research base ate Fireweed Island which will be able to further compliment the knowledge we gain from the various programs down south. Working with the various Inuit communities to help study population trends and the effects climate change is having on this untouched piece of wilderness.
What needs to be done to achieve this?
Studying the land in great detail over the years has enabled us to pic the perfect location to build the base of GeoNest Lodge. Tucked into the north western corner the camp and docking area are well protected from the wind and waves of the Hudson Bay, not to mention their distance from the main shore allows it to sit largely undisturbed from the migration patterns of the polar bears frequenting the coast.
Built on a wooden base a few inches above the ground means that we need to do minimal adjustments to the ground in order to build all semi-permanent structures. The accommodation will be a cross between seasonal camps and semi permanent structures that can be erected and dismantled within a few days. The main admin building and accommodation will feature 6 - 8 rooms that will be pre built on mainland and then shipped to the island. Minimizing not just the work we do on the island, but also the presence of work crews during peak wildlife times. Fuel and Storage will be stored in minimal volumes on the securest point on the island, far from any water source during high tide and storm surges. The dock will also be either a semi permanent floating structure with two pillars dug into the ground or simply an area of coast 30 - 50m wide cleared of any large bolder’s where we will offload and upload the landing crafts coming from Churchill and Arviat with guests.
Any garbage, waste, food, and water will be brought in on weekly supply trips and subsequently disposed of at the same time in the city of origin. Minimizing our footprint on the land and the need to bring in loud, large, and high tech machinery which would only disturb the land. While we will have tanks to collect water and store and UV filter grey-water; larger waste like sewage, combustible and non combustible waste will be stored and then transported accordingly in specialized and secure tanks.