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Archive for ecotourism

A Pristine Paradise in Micronesia

By Linda Tancs

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Palau is a pristine paradise, and the locals intend to keep it that way by implementing the Palau Pledge. It’s the world’s first conservation pledge that is stamped in passports; visitors sign a declaration to protect the local environment and culture for the next generation. That environment includes native forests and mangroves that are the most species-diverse in Micronesia with 1,400 species of plants and an estimated 194 endemic plant species, including 23 endemic species of orchids. You’ll also find phenomena like the Rock Islands (collections of largely uninhabited, mushroom-shaped islets housing one of the world’s greatest concentrations of coral and marine life) and Jellyfish Lake, where two types of resident jellyfish have completely lost their sting because they have not had to fight off predators.

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A Natural Landmark in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

Protected and administered by Rutgers University, Hutcheson Memorial Forest Center boasts more than 500 acres of conserved land, much of it uncut forest, one of the last in the Mid-Atlantic. In fact, the old growth forest is the only uncut upland forest in New Jersey, and it appears on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks. Public tours led by university faculty and researchers occur throughout the year on designated Sundays. The meetup point is at the forest entrance located at 2150 Amwell Road (Route 514), just east of historic East Millstone.

Ecotourism in the Exumas

By Linda Tancs

The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas. Its sapphire blue waters are home to two national parks. The 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, created in 1958, was the first land and sea park in the world. An ecological preserve and wildlife refuge, it’s home to rare coral life, limestone reefs, scores of tropical fish, the endangered Bahamian iguana and the elusive hutia (a Caribbean rodent). More ecological wonders await at Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, covering 13,440 acres. In addition to phenomenal sandbars, the park includes sights like Thunderball Grotto, the Blow Hole at Boise Cay with a 10-foot geyser and Dripping Cave at Guana Cay.

Iceberg Alley

By Linda Tancs

Iceberg Alley is an area stretching from the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. From spring to September, the locale presents the most unusual of tourist attractions as icebergs break off in the Arctic and float down past the coast. The goliaths are most plentiful in April and May (in fact, over 600 have already appeared, with a seasonal average just under 700) but they may be locked up in sea ice, so late May and early June are best for viewing. Some of the more popular viewing locations (by land, kayak or boat tour) are St. Lewis, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Fogo Island, Change Islands, Bonavista, St. John’s/Cape Spear, Bay Bulls/Witless Bay, Cape St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s.

The Super Natural in British Columbia

By Linda Tancs

Nature reigns supreme along the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. That’s where you’ll find Great Bear Rainforest, home to the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. It’s also the only place in the world where you can see the Kermode (spirit) bear, a sub-species of black bear noted for its white fur. Stretching for 250 miles, the diverse ecosystem teems with marine life, endless fjords and towering granite cliffs. Wildlife tours are plentiful along with hiking, kayaking, boating and fishing opportunities. The visitor center is located in the Copper Sun Art Gallery in downtown Bella Coola.

Loons in New Hampshire

By Linda Tancs

It’s high loon season. No, we’re not talking harried travelers; we’re talking waterbirds, like ducks and geese. Their closest relatives, however, are penguins and albatrosses. The common loon is the most widespread species. Marveled at for its yodels, hoots and hollers, the Granite State has about 280 pairs of loons to delight visitors at most lakes. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, New Hampshire, is a particular favorite of locals and tourists. The seasonal boat cruise is a great way to learn about the natural history of the lake and its popular wildlife. You’ll also view locations where the movie On Golden Pond was filmed.

The Great Divide

By Linda Tancs

The Continental Divide is an epic hydrological divide separating the watersheds draining into the Atlantic Ocean from those draining into the Pacific Ocean. In the United States, its route is over 3,000 miles long, extending from the Canadian border with Montana to the Mexican boundary in southwest New Mexico. Following this course you’ll find the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, part of a series of national trails established by Congress in recognition of their natural beauty. The Continental Divide trail in particular passes through 25 national forests, 21 wilderness areas and three national parks, providing access to spectacular vistas in some of the most scenic places left in the world. The highest point is in Colorado at Grays Peak (14,270 feet) and the lowest is along Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana (4,200 feet). The long winter season along the Divide (September through May) is now over. Why not plan a hiking or camping trip! From backpacking to family day trips, there’s something for everyone.

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