Greetings Eco Traveler!
I’m glad you found your way to Woods & Water Ecotours!
I welcome you to join us in experiencing the quiet beauty of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. This place is rich with ecological biodiversity and friendly people who appreciate the wildness and unique heritage of this region.
Over 15 years of professional conservation work with organizations like Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy, my network of conservationists and science expertise has grown. On many of our extended trips you will have an opportunity to meet some of these biologists and wildlife experts and experience the places they love to work. Each trip also features a unique cultural and human heritage component where you may get to see traditional craftsmen blow glass and fire earthen pottery…or, sample award-winning maple syrup right at the sugar bush where it is made!
Overall health and well-being for guests and the environment is an important balance to strike with nature-based tourism. One way to achieve this balance is to rely on human energy to get us from place to place. Our primary modes of travel are alternative travel modes like hiking, biking or kayaking. We also apply reduce, reuse, recycle ethics and “leave no trace” techniques to our business practices.
To support and sustain the conservation areas we visit, a percentage from each package or day trip cost will be donated to sustainable community development projects or conservation organizations.
Your participation in a Woods & Water Ecotours will not only give you wonderful new stories to take home, but also an understanding of how your dollars will be helping to sustain natural areas and the people who steward them. I’m thrilled to offer you authentic, unique educational programs and experiences.
I look forward to journeying with you!
Yours in nature,
Jessie A. Hadley
EIGHT CHARACTERISTICS OF ECOTOURISM*
1. It must promote positive environmental ethics - fostering preferred behavior in its participants.
2. It does not degrade the resource - There is no consumptive erosion of the natural environment visited.
3. It concentrates on intrinsic rather than extrinsic values. Facilities and services may "facilitate" the encounter with the intrinsic resource; they never become attractions in their own right, nor do they distract from the natural attraction itself.
4. It is biocentric rather than homocentric in philosophy. Ecotourists enter the environment accepting it on its terms, not expecting it to change or be modified for their convenience.
5. It must benefit the wildlife and environment. If the environment has not at least achieved a net benefit toward its sustainability and ecological integrity, then the activity is not ecotourism.
6. It is a first-hand experience with the natural environment. Movies and zoological parks do not constitute an ecotourism experience. Visitor centers and interpretive slide shows are included.
7. It has an "expectation of gratification."
8. It has a high cognitive and effective experiential dimension.
*SOURCE: Ecotourism: Its Changing Face and Evolving Philosophy, Dr. James R. Butler, Department of Forestry, University of Alberta, Canada, 1992