Summer months (June through August) are the peak season for travel and tourism. In last month’s post, we shared our top “summer travel destinations” featuring Nature Bridges projects. This month, we’re discussing ecotourism and tips for sustainable travel.
What Is Ecotourism?
According to Megan Epler Wood, co-founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
“In simple words, the meaning of ecotourism is travel that makes a positive impact on both the ECOlogy and ECOnomy of a given destination.” What Are the Principles of Ecotourism? GreenGlobalTravel.com
Nature Bridges’ Mission & Method
At Nature Bridges, our goal is to bring people into the most delicate of habitats while promoting conservation. In conservation areas (areas that are not being developed for substantial human effect, such as housing or industry), it’s important that visitors are able to pass through with minimal disturbance. By building designated pathways in these areas, we prevent visitors from trampling on the native plant life or animal habitats (allowing the species to flourish!).
We construct boardwalks and bridges in sensitive environments, such as wetlands and wooded conservation areas. Our top-down construction method preserves natural habitats during the construction process. No machinery traverses on the ground, which drastically minimizes damage to plants and wildlife. We believe a successful project is made of durable materials which complement the property’s natural beauty.
A recent project that promotes ecotourism that we’re proud of is the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk in Woodbridge, Virginia. It is a ¾ mile boardwalk showcasing the Potomac waterfront, allowing hikers and cyclists passage through the wetlands, encouraging visitors to enjoy the natural scenery and observe local wildlife.
4 Tips to Become a Responsible “Ecotourist”
1. Pack Light
Next time you travel, be a bit more conservative with what you bring along. That extra pair of shoes can stay behind. One less bag will save you money at the airport and, bonus, increase plane fuel-efficiency.
2. Save Water, Save Energy
Reduce your water usage and save electricity. Turn off the faucet and take shorter showers. Be sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
3. Leave It As You Found It
Be respectful and environmentally conscious by disposing of trash (don’t litter!) and keeping to designated trails when you’re outdoors.
4. Shop Local
Support the community’s economy by buying from local vendors. (Makes for better souvenirs!) Eat at local restaurants and participate in local events.
Nature Bridges will continue to champion ecotourism by constructing graceful, durable structures that mirror the environment and preserve natural habitats. Are you in need of a boardwalk or bridge? Contact Nature Bridges today and we’ll help you get started. 850-997-8585