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Recreation

Fast & Easy Info

  • The Ecotourism Society defines "ecotourism" as "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people." Ecotourism minimizes environmental impacts. It incorporates ecologically appropriate architecture and land use designs. It also offers local people opportunities for economic development. Through ecotourism, you not only enjoy and learn from the place you are visiting. You give something back, to ensure that it remains protected for future visitors to enjoy as well.
  • Travel companies may market themselves as "eco" tour-based. They may also promote "sustainable" tourism or "responsible" tourism. You'll have to ask questions to find out. To be considered responsible they should minimize negative impacts on the environment and operate on a "Leave No Trace" philosophy. Keep in mind that just because a tour is "nature-based" doesn't make it environmentally friendly.
  • Even if you're simply driving to the nearest beach or camping in the local state park, there's much you can do to save energy and minimize your environmental impact.
 
 

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Hiking

See "Fun Things to Do" on the Family page of this web site.

www.responsibletravel.com is an on-line travel agent based in Brighton , England that helps travelers who want authentic holidays find trips that also benefit the environment and local people.

Sierra Club Outings will help you find opportunities to backpack, raft, sail, hike, canoe and camp in the U.S. and around the world.

Earth Watch Institute is an international non-profit organization that supports scientific field research by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world. Volunteers collect field data in the areas of rainforest ecology, wildlife conservation, marine science, archaeology, and more.

WWW.ReserveUSA.Com is a one-stop reservation service for the USDA Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation outdoor recreation facilities and activities. With over 45,000 reservable facilities at over 1,700 locations, the NRRS is the largest outdoor recreation reservation service in the country. Whether your heading North to Alaska 's Tongrass National Forest , South to Florida 's Lake Okeechobee, East to North Carolina 's Blue Ridge Parkway , or West to California 's Los Padres National Forest , you can reserve your place under the stars with the NRRS. Through the website, you will be able to search by state or facility name and also check availability. The NRRS can also be contacted through TDD 1-877-833-6777 and International (518) 885-3639.

TrailLink, a service of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, provides a comprehensive database on America 's 1,359 rail-trails, plus many other canal towpaths, greenways and non-rail-trails.

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For Your Shopping List:

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    Hiking
    Green Hotels - When choosing a hotel, pick one that belongs to the "Green" Hotels Association®. Green hotels are more likely to offer towel rack hangers and sheet changing cards, which ask guests to consider using their linens more than once. These tactics can save 5% on energy and water bills alone.
  • Car Rentals - If you must rent a car at your destination, choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle to meet your needs. It's often far more efficient to use local transportation or rent bicycles. Many rental agencies now offer highly fuel efficient gas-electric hybrids.
  • Clothing - Consider Patagonia. They make pants, shirts, caps, jackets, vests, and other apparel for men women and children out of recycled soda bottle fabric as well as organic cotton. They also donate 10% of their pre-tax profits to grassroots environmental organizations.
  • Gear - Apart from the standard camping stores, you can find good second-hand gear at the Outdoor Gear Exchange or the Great Outdoor Recreational Pages (GORP).
  • Food - Backcountry Food Organic provides a mail-order catalog chock full of yummy ingredients for your camping cookout. You'll be whipping up chocolate mousse and breakfast frittatas in no time

What NOT to Buy?

Any endangered species. That goes for plants as well as animals. You may not realize that the souvenir you're buying that contains an animal's hide, body part or piece of shell actually contributed to the loss of an endangered species. Most travel and tourism guides will provide information on what souvenirs to avoid. Pay attention to them. Trade in wildlife and wildlife products seriously harms individual species and contributes to habitat destruction on a global scale.

In My House

We are a family of veteran eco-travelers. When our kids were younger, we hiked and camped in the Shenandoah mountains or by the beach near Assateague National Wildlife Refuge. As they got older, we graduated to more ambitious experiences like tenting in Cinnamon Bay Campground on St. John , U.S. Virgin Islands . Today, wherever we travel, whether it's an "eco" trip or a city trip, we try to find Nature. Cities look so much alike, with their Starbucks and McDonald's arches and movie theater chains all flattening out the urban landscape into one monotonous metropolis regardless of the zip code. Fortunately, the plants and animals in different parts of the country and the world still give their community some individualtiy. We seek them out to remind ourselves that there really is diversity in the world, and that it's worth holding on to.

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