The Captain and Kermode

Captain Brian Falconer has headed Raincoast’s Marine Operations Program for the past eight years, overseeing the operation of our coast guard certified research vessel, Achiever. The running of Achiever has been central to Raincoast’s science, outreach and conservation efforts as it serves as an unparalleled platform from which to carry out a wide range of activities including research initiatives, film projects and educational programs.

After leading the effort to acquire Achiever, Brian directed a major refit that transformed her into the safe, capable and tough vessel we see today. The 68 foot steel-hull sloop-rigged Achiever operates eight months of the year between Dixon Entrance and Queen Charlotte Sound on BC’s central and north coasts.

Brian is a licensed maritime captain with a 90 ton ticket who has logged tens of thousands of hours captaining commercial vessels on the BC and Alaskan coasts. But his formidable expertise goes far beyond the realm of technical competence as a mariner and boat builder. Brian has the unique ability to inspire by bringing people to wild places and immersing them in a new world that more often than not translates into a truly magical experience. Fifteen years of working in the ecotourism industry as the owner and operator of Maple Leaf Adventures, coupled with his extensive knowledge of coastal BC, honed the skills which have made Brian such a highly respected figure on this coast.

Achiever is also an invaluable part of fulfilling Raincoast’s responsibilities to manage and monitor the enormous guide outfitting territory we purchased in 2005, effectively ending the commercial trophy hunting of large carnivores in that vast area.

Kermode bear at the bank of a stream, walking on mossy rocks in between the underbrush.

Building on the success of our aforementioned acquisition, Brian has been spearheading Raincoast’s effort to acquire a hunting territory like no other – the primary place in the world where the Kermode, or spirit bear, roams. Despite a restriction on killing spirit bears, trophy hunting of black bears – which carry the recessive gene that causes the Kermode’s white coat – is allowed. Our purchase will not only protect one of the rarest bears in the world, it will also safeguard the genetically unique rainforest wolves we have studied for a decade. This new 3,500 square kilometer license lies next to our existing hunting tenure. We have now secured an agreement to purchase this hunting tenure and only have a few months to raise the necessary funds. With your help we can take this historic step. Please visit for more information.

Photo of Brian Falconer courtesy Doug Brown. Kermode bear photo courtesy Larry Travis.

A version of this article was first published in the Seaside Times December 2010 Issue.

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Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.