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4. G Edwards & Sons, Inc
JULIE EDGAR STAFF WRITER
an Pickard makes a living
sending people to rain
forests, barrier reefs, rush-
ing rivers, the Alaskan
tundra, Mayan ruins and the
Australian outback — places he's
been to himself, of course.
He puts up with the inevitable
Indiana Jones comparisons,
which are, he admits, partly ac-
curate. His company, Bivouac
Adventure Travel in Ann Arbor,
is built on a philosophy that mix-
es risk with responsibility.
Bivouac's trips, group or indi-
vidual, focus on "engaging" with
the environment and people of a
particular region. Accommoda-
tions aren't threadbare, but chal-
lenge the traveler culturally,
intellectually and sometimes
incentive to take care of the cul-
tural and natural resources of the
"If they're excluded the way
lots of tourism companies have
done in the past, I don't think
we can expect them to really
care for the beauty or value of
the resource," Mr. Pickard ex-
To that end, Bivouac donates
part of the cost of its trips to Be-
lize in the Yucatan Peninsula to
the Ix Chel Tropical Research
Foundation. The organization,
established 17 years ago, re-
searches medicinal uses of for-
est flora and propagates plant
life to preserve rain-forest
species threatened by defor-
Belize is a popular destination
PHOTO BY BILL GEMMELL
for Bivouac trav-
elers. The compa-
ny also runs
scheduled and un-
for groups, cou-
ples and individu-
als to Australia
and Alaska. Mr.
Pickard is consid-
ering adding New
Zealand and Chi-
na to Bivouac's
39, is a Hunting-
ton Woods native
who cultivated a
taste for travel
during his fami-
ly's trips to Algo-
nquin Park in
Ontario and his
He eventually be-
Dan Pickard proposes adventure.
came director of
In other words, Bivouac Tamarack's summer tripping
doesn't do "sit-on-the-beach" program, working at Agree Out-
post, Ortonville and co-leading a
The Bivouac spirit is tied to an teen trip to Alaska.
idea known as "eco-tourism," a
Ten years ago, he started
term often picked up by travel Bivouac Adventure Travel at the
agencies as a facile marketing behest of Ed Davidson, the own-
tool, Mr. Pickard says.
er of Bivouac, a retail camping
For him, it means respecting outfitter where Mr. Pickard
the environment, contributing to worked as an undergraduate at
its well-being, and employing lo- the University of Michigan. His
cals to co-lead the trips with one former boss convinced him that
of three Bivouac staffers from the a travel company upstairs from
the downstairs retailer would
"I think the client gets the best dovetail with the store's offerings.
experience by having a perspec-
For Mr. Pickard, starting the
tive of a local Australian or Be- company meant targeting a mid-
lizean as well as someone from dle market that had been ne-
our office who understands the glected by all but a few
itinerary and what the client companies around the country.
needs. I firmly believe that un-
"Joe and Josephine Camper
less local people are involved in already knew about the trips.
the economy of tourism and its But there was a whole set of peo-
benefits, they will not have the ple who didn't want to take a