Sustained forests; sustained profits

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The Tours Group

The Tours Group is proposed as an economic enterprise that can be sustained. The action is gentle on the land, educational, and meets the real needs of a population that is becoming more urban. The enterprise works to arrange high quality, well-catered and well-outfitted tours of the region and lands under Lasting Forests management. These include tours with names such as: Regional tours are arranged for travelers going to and from the area, meeting staff at several national or state parks and forests on their way to and from the area.

A Tours Group can become a main part of a program in Ranging, inclusive of residents as well as visitors in a full range of outdoor-related activities and events.

Tours are contemplated for the other ownerships. International tours are arranged for bird watching, seeing the deer and owls of the world, and developing wildlife-related trips with our contacts in Senegal, China, Nigeria, India, Belize, and Colombia. The tours provide employment opportunities, research and education opportunities, enhance the quality of life, and allow a rural contribution to the overall region, and other land holdings. Emphasis in the tours is definitely on nature and that can be defined broadly, but it is expected that the relations of nature to local and national history, to the effects of changing land use, and to diversification will be part of many tours.

The intent of this description is to guide staff efforts and provide insights for planners and investors in Tours. Tours will succeed best when created within the context of Nature Folks, Avi, The Deer Group, The Fishery, Stoneworms and other Forest enterprises such as the Wildland Knowledge Base.

Over 40% of the U.S. population now participates in some form of nature tourism. It is the fastest growing component of the travel industry. Variously termed ecotourism and back-to-nature trips, but also sight-seeing, dispersed outdoor recreation, and even "visits", Tours is a major participant in ranging, the collective term for the above set of words and phrases. The enterprise provides a variety of tours managed as a whole system with a constant theme and clear objectives, central administration, planning, and cost effectiveness.

Monterey Bay Bird Festival is an example of a nature-related activity and tour destination. Check out the website and link to the Bird Festival.

The objectives (the weights or relative values we can discuss) are apparent:

  1. To make a profit for employees and investors.
  2. To teach people about nature (where "teach" implies "make a significant change in their behavior or feeling of pleasure or reduced dissonance from stimul").
  3. To stabilize the presence or dynamic of natural phenomena.
  4. To acquaint more people with the special natural areas and processes of the region.
  5. To expedite meaningful, safe, national and international nature and wildland tours.
  6. To help stabilize employment of people with knowledge about nature.
  7. To stabilize a diverse research program on nature.
  8. To acquaint urban people with the realities of natural processes in the forests, fields, waters, and wetlands that support them.
  9. To stabilize sales and services for people on tours, sales that also benefit the local economy.

Tours and programs produced by the Tours Group of the Lasting Forests have special characteristics.

  1. They start at the end. A tour participant is a potential long-term member of a "club" of people who have gone on tours. It is as if we are interested in the person leaving the tour bus.
  2. Tourists are educated before starting and during the tour. The emphasis - "the responsible tourist."
  3. Areas are protected.
  4. Collection is discouraged.
  5. Photography is taught and encouraged.
  6. Personal time is encouraged and provisions made for it on tours.
  7. The welfare of local people is enhanced, at least protected.
  8. Historical and cultural activities can usually be related. Special events may be interspersed with "nature" events.
  9. While local activity may be disrupted, the benefits, by design, will outweigh the costs related to disruptions.
  10. General support and encouragement of museum work is provided.
Expenditures and net economic impact of tourism in select Pennsylvania locations (Haney and Schaat 1995) has been in the net range per person per day of $15-25. Nature tourism has not been developed as an economic resource system. The ideas have been limited; the scale of operation has been small; providing diverse offerings has not accommodated the effects of season. Lasting Forests itself has available a vast professional resource. There are unlimited land resources as well in the surrounding areas. A Tours strategy includes direct work with cultural events, motels, busses, restaurants, bed and breakfast, boating, service stations, local stores and markets, art galleries, handicraft groups, and artists. The boost proposed from the creation of the enterprise is to the overall economy. (At Cape May, NJ, visitors observing migrating birds spend over $10 million in the community.) Meetings and suggestions for local participants for cooperating with Tours will be provided.

The general concepts that Tours encourages are (in unison with ASTA):

  1. Respecting the frailty of Earth.
  2. Leaving only footprints (taking away only memories and photos)
  3. Educating before and while on tours.
  4. Respecting privacy and dignity of people in areas visited.
  5. Refraining from buying objects related to endangered plants, animals, or communities.
  6. Refraining from disturbing animals, or communities.
  7. Creating support for research, studies, and expeditions.
  8. Using appropriate transportation (low impact, low energy).
  9. Patronizing nature-sensitive hotels, resorts, transportation, etc. (recycle; noise; energy, etc. and with staff dedicated to improved resource management.)
The potentials (not intended to be site specific) and suggestions of the types of tours:
  1. Hawk watching
  2. Spring flower tours (medicinal plants, poisonous plants, etc.)
  3. Fishing contests
  4. Owl "hoots"
  5. Coyote (calling up for observation)
  6. 'Coon hunts (observation of night hunt)
  7. Stream and pond events
  8. Canoe trips
  9. Geology
  10. Autumn colors
  11. Beaver ponds and their ecology
  12. Archaeological dig site
  13. Soils trips
  14. Predator-prey trips
  15. Spring "seeps"
  16. Wild turkey trips
  17. Research participation (volunteer work)
  18. Expeditions to Ancient Forests
  19. Stream ecology
  20. Wildflower preserve on the tracts
  21. Regional tours; U.S. tours with the Group or Ranging land(s) as terminal point(s)
  22. Timber harvesting
  23. Avi - "bird golf" - national and international
  24. Deer observation - international trips to see every species of deer in the world (see The Deer Group)
and Grandeer.

Benefits from cooperative arrangements with hotels and inns may be arranged.

Contacts have been made for wilderness tours in India and Nepa.

Also see epaddler.com ans Piragis International Expeditions

Also see potentials in cowboy and backwoods experience vacations.

The potentials are for daily, year-around use with at least modest profits to those in the Lasting Forests.

Access to vacation sites and tours is available through Sunterra. Consider going to The Global Online Community and entering ecotourism for a search word. You will get at least 5 relevant sources.

Go to Mindspring.com and click into travel, especially nature travel. for many options. The American auto club, AAA provides maps and tour information. Starwood.com has international hotels. More than one service such as WWW.travelocity.com , or travelscape provides air and auto service links and vacation and cruise information. Unions with some these may provide additional financial advantages.

Consider contacting:Coral Cay Conservation, The Tower, 13th Floor, 125 High Street, Colliers Wood, London SW19 2JG, UK Email: info@coralcay.org

A special type of tour is being integrated within The Fishery for the Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Estimated development cost......$20,000

Estimated mean annual profits.....$300,000

References

Jacobson, S.K. and A.F. Lopez. 1994. Biological impacts of ecotourism: tourists and nesting turtles in Tortugero National Park, Coata Rico Wildl. Soc Bull. 22(3):414-419

Hvenegaard, G.T. 1994. Ecotourism: a ststus report and conceptual framework. J Tourism Studies 5(2): 24-35. (email address: hveng@augustana.ab.ca)

Hvenegaard, G.T. 1993. Tourism in national parks in Thailand. Canadian Council for Southeast Asia Studies Newssletter 2(3):2.

Eagles, P.F.J., S.D. Buse, and G.T.Hvenegaard. (no date). Ecotourism: an annotated bibliography for planners and managers. North Benington, VT. The Ecotourism Society

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Last revision January 17, 2000.