Central Coast Outdoors Reaches Tenth Anniversary as Carbonfree® Small Business

July 02, 2018

Central Coast Outdoors is a small adventure travel company based in San Luis Obispo County, California started in 2003 by John and Virginia Flaherty, the current owners.  Their mission is “to enrich our guests’ lives through an incredible experience in the outdoor world of the Central Coast.”  Both John and Virginia have extensive backgrounds in guiding outdoors trips all over the world for other outdoor touring companies and decided it was high time to hang out their own shingle, stick closer to home and show people the wonders of California’s Central Coast.

Central Coast Outdoors works with group travel planners and travel tour operators, as well as local guides, to provide top rated outdoors tours on California’s Central Coast region, including Morro Bay, Big Sur, Paso Robles and “SLO” County.   The three main tour activities are kayaking, bicycling and hiking. Specializing in small group travel, Central Coast Outdoors has also hosted events with over 100 people, and their tours are #1 top rated on TripAdvisor.

The team at Central Coast Outdoors recognized that taking outdoors tours can certainly help raise one’s awareness of the importance of nature, they also analyzed their entire business operation to see where their tours impacting the environment and came up with a series of changes and programs to make the business as green as possible.

Their goal was to lower the company’s emissions and impacts as much as possible then use carbon offsets and other mitigation measures to address the impacts that remained.

To lower energy use and carbon emissions, Central Coast Outdoors has:

  • Purchased a Toyota Prius for running smaller trips that need vehicle support and transportation. The Prius gets 40-50 mpg and the van they were using for trips got about 12 mpg, thus reducing annual fuel consumption and carbon emissions by over 50%.
  • Purchased an Energy Star refrigerator for storing food in their warehouse. This new refrigerator uses about 75% less electricity than the old refrigerator.
  • Installed solar electric panels on their home/office. Combined with the more energy efficient refrigerator, these efforts combine to offset 100% of electrical use.
  • Recently began providing reusable water bottles, rather than single-use plastic bottles, to tour participants.

To mitigate what remains of Central Coast Outdoors’ environmental impact, the company has contributed annually to for the past ten years to mitigate remaining carbon emissions.

“Our company goal was to lower our emissions and impacts as much as we could and do carbon offsets and other mitigation measures to address the impacts that remained,” explains John Flaherty.  “We feel works hard to offset or repair environmental damage or organizations that advocate for a sustainable future.”

In the past ten years, Central Coast Outdoors has made contributions to sufficient to neutralize almost 750,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, the same quantity of carbon emissions as are sequestered by almost 400 acres of US forestland in a year. is proud to partner with Central Coast Outdoors in ensuring its tour operations are carbon neutral and that they remain environmental leaders in the outdoors adventure and tour companies.