Here’s How River Conservation Can Help Ecotourism

Altria/Team Marlborough Flaot Trip, 7/18/13 after Tapco RAP and Tuzi RAP construction, 7/16-17/13. On the Verde River, American Rivers/Altria-funded project to improve Tuzigoot and Tapco RAPs on the Verde River in Clarkdale, AZ.

Across the country riverside towns have discovered the benefits of being a “gateway” community. Learn more about the success of six communities around the country.

While previously ignored, these communities have changed their outlook on rivers, understanding the benefits of a healthy ecosystem, and how recreation in river corridors can improve and sustain local economies. Communities have learned how to promote their natural amenities, and as a result have created “destinations,” resulting in evolving recreation and tourism opportunities.

To illustrate the benefits communities have discovered by protecting and restoring local rivers, American Rivers developed Ecotourism Benefits Through River Conservation, a series of case studies highlighting gateway communities and how they have benefited from local river and land conservation. These towns frequently find visitors entering the communities to access parks and other recreation areas — staying in campgrounds and hotels, eating meals in town, purchasing supplies, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural resources.

Biking Along River - Flickr Creative Commons

Each gateway community we present is unique, experiencing their own set of opportunities and challenges. These gateway communities have discovered local treasures — often hidden right before their eyes, and have embraced the evolution from an extraction-based economy to one that celebrates and sustains it’s livelihood through a recreation/tourism based existence.

Gateway Community Case Studies:

The following collection of case studies illustrates examples of communities developing and promoting and ecotourism ethic across the country:

· Blackfoot River Valley, Montana — Blackfoot River

· Conway, South Carolina — Waccamaw River

· Duluth, Minnesota — St. Louis River

· Eagle, Colorado — Eagle and Upper Colorado Rivers

· Jackson County, Oregon — Rogue River

· Rockingham, North Carolina — Hitchcock Creek

Photo Credits: Doug Von Gausig, Verde River and Take Me Fishing 

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