River guides at heart, Brian McCutcheon and Ashley Scanlan both came from a life of guiding around the globe but found a home at Chilko Lake and River. After decades guiding in the area, they purchased a slice of waterfront heaven, and in 2013 Bear Camp was born!
Brian grew up as a young golf and tennis pro and started his career in Ontario, completing his degree of Physical Education at the University of Western Ontario while simultaneously cutting his whitewater teeth on the world-famous Ottawa River. Following his lust for adventure, he set out to paddle his way around the globe and boasts that he has avoided “real work” for most of his life since founding his own tour company, ROAM Adventures, 1986.
Ashley spent most of her younger years in the saddle training horses in Ontario until the mountains called her West…then South… then North. After working as a wrangler in Jasper, Alberta, then paddling her way through Central and South America, Ashley knew that she wanted to spend her life showing people the wilderness that she loves. This decision ironically brought her back indoors to study Tourism and then Ecology at Selkirk College. After falling in love with Chilko, she fell in love with the man that was rafting there (Brian), and in 2010, they teamed up to build their dream together.
Brian founded ROAM Adventures in 1986 after decidedly committing his life to making people feel at home while pushing the boundaries of adventure travel. Pairing class V expedition rafting with indulgent camps complete with fine wines and chef-designed meal plans, Brian loves to host people in his favourite places around the globe. With over 40 years in the business, there is still never a dull moment with Brian at the helm – always expect the unexpected, and be sure that when you feel out of your comfort zone, Brian is precisely in his element.
Ashley has a background in ecology and tourism, and had been working her way around the globe guiding whitewater rafting expeditions, mountain treks, horseback trips, and ocean kayaking tours when in 2007, she got swept off her feet by the power and beauty of the Chilcotin wilderness in BC. Ashley partnered with ROAM Adventures founder Brian McCutcheon in 2012 and the safari-style property called Bear-Camp at Chilko was born. She is honored to chair the Chilko Operators Association – a collection of residents who work with the local indigenous community to build relationships and sustainable business together.
Whitney first fell in love with rivers when she met the Ottawa in 2012 and has since continued her journey working throughout the west coast of Canada, into Mexico, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Patagonia, Chile. When Whitney is not guiding she spends her time in the mountains helping youth and families as a support worker.
After 40 years of living in the British Columbia backcountry, Mike (aka “Grizz”) is the man that you want to know if there is a zombie apocalypse or, more likely, if you just want to learn some wilderness survival skills to impress your friends. Wildlife tracking, primitive weaponry, leather and metal work, sustainable gardening, and traditional log home building are just a few of his skills that span his 7 decades as a wilderness expert.
Steve is a photographer, writer and biologist based out of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. He is tireless about documenting the world via the most evocative means possible. During your trip with ROAM, guests often wake in the morning to the beautiful calls of birds in the surroundings, or it might just be Steve trying to call the birds. If you are on a trip with this guy, get ready to have a walking encyclopedia of bird knowledge at your side, as well as a certified member of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association.
Gord was born in the mountains of the Caribou-Chilcotin and his wilderness roots run deep. A professional forester by trade, Gord has spent his life adventuring in the mountains and has dedicated the last decade to fighting forest fires in the area and managing ecosystems. We were able to hook him for a season as part of our guide-team before he goes back to school to finish his degree in Wildlife Management with the University of British Columbia. He’s kind of the strong-silent type, but has plenty of stories to tell – just get him a whiskey.
Andrea may describe herself as “just another river guide/ski bum”, but we know there truth: this powerful woman regularly steers boats through big water on the Chilko River and thru the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Chasing water until it turns to snowflakes, Mikus trades her flip-flops for ski boots and guides heli-ski trips based out of Nelson BC in the winter. All that time away from home inspires her heart-ache country songs that she sings while strummin’ her guitar next to a campfire.
James Ramsay AKA “Rammer” is our resident photographer/videographer. Rammer turns his sharp attention to detail on the beauty of the wilderness, and those immersed in it. From sunrise to sunset, with all the walks, paddles, meals and wildlife in between, this guy works tirelessly to get the shot and then burns the midnight oil editing together the memories from each trip, to inspire those who have not been to these stunning locations yet. A man already rich in techno-gadgets, Rammer often donates the proceeds of his photographic work to some of his favorite charities: community-based animal welfare organizations, and youth health and wellness programs.
We met this Costa Rican river lover deep in Patagonia on the Rio Futaleufu. Jorge has logged over 130+ rivers and counting, and we are happy that he considers rivers here in BC among the best in the world! When Jorge is not busy running class V, wrangling horses or being interviewed for OUTSIDE magazine’s “Guide of the Year”, you can find him on the dance-floor, cutting the rug with his serious salsa moves.
“Miguel” works full time as a Physicians Assistant, but in between saving lives in Idaho hospitals, he moonlights as a guide in the largest wilderness reserve in the world: the Tatshenshini-Alsek in Alaska. Miguel is passionate and knowledgeable about about whitewater, fly fishing, wine tasting, and Patagonia fashion.
Bob has chased his love for whitewater around the globe, to Chile, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Costa Rica and beyond! When he’s not leading trips on the water, he is leading the next generation of tourism up-and-comers through the Adventure Tourism Program at Thompson Rivers University, or instructing Wilderness Medical programs.
Our in-house engineer and fly-fisher extraordinaire, Tamarack was born in the mountains of BC and packed up his engineering degree in his tackle box to join us at Bear Camp. Well versed in making the machine run smooth, Tamarack keeps the hot showers hot and the beer fridge cold on our off-the-grid property, making him one of our favorite people! How did we get an over-qualified engineer to a boutique camp in the wilderness? We just had to tell him about the trout!
The big water of the Ottawa river hooked Caleb in 2008, and he has traveled the world since exploring rivers via raft and kayak. When he isn’t on the water with us, he’s out there saving lives as a paramedic and firefighter. While Caleb always takes the responsibility of his jobs very seriously, he will have you roaring with laughter and is not shy to rock a sequined shirt for a river-side happy hour.
Khan Yong Gee
Khan discovered the Chilko River in 2010 and has made the pilgrimage to the area each year since. This man has fishing on the brain constantly and we are pretty sure that he dreams about fishing too, since he wakes up before anyone else, tip-toes out to the dock and rows out silently to get a few hours on the water before work starts. Khan’s passion for fishing is as big as the Chilcotin itself and a guest at Bear Camp coined the tag #catchingwithKhan to record the trophy trout that our guests pull out of the water around here.
Alvaro was destined to spend his life in and along the river. Born in Peru, his family has a long history as pioneers in the tourism industry and his experience shows. Passionate and professional, Alvaro loves his work and is excited to share the world’s most beautiful places with people. Whether he is guiding an expedition rafting trip, fly fishing on a tranquil river, or showing off his cooking skills, you can be sure he is doing it with a smile! But watch out – when the dice games start – it is all business for this guy!
Our business was born from the love of beautiful and wild places, and with that comes a responsibility to stand up for the protection and preservation of the environment.
We know that our business activity, and our mere existence on Earth, have an impact and creates by-product. So we strive hard to reduce harm and operate sustainably with the environment and community around us. We designed the camp to have a minimalist footprint, keeping our tents 12-14’ above ground and thus allowing the property to remain an important wildlife corridor. We used a lot of re-purposed wood during the construction of our camp, provide organic and biodegradable soaps and shampoos for our guests as well as use local organic produce whenever available. We focus our efforts on using our own energy as much as possible, from paddling kayaks on the lake, hiking the local trails, or horseback riding in the mountains. It is true that sometimes we use fuels in order to access parts of the area, and in a symbiotic way, that effort to reach these wilderness areas, also protects it, by creating an awareness and passion for the natural environment.
Staying true to our values is something that we are proud of at Bear Camp, and we are committed to bettering our practices with more sustainable technologies as they become available.