Thursday, March 21, 2013

Y'all come back!

Eco-tourism is simply: hospitality that pays off.

The little town of Loudonville Ohio knows how it earns a living, or at least the local McDonald's management knows.  It is all about tourism.  

The Loudonville McDonald's displays a beautiful  mural of Mohican State Park.

  These folks are pretty savvy about marketing, and they know from whence their dollars come. Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm are huge economic draws to this area.  That tourism would sharply decline if industry is allowed to operate in our parks.  Who wants to camp or fish next to a logging operation or fracking well?  Ohio State Park land was set aside for the people of Ohio; it should not be "for sale".

The past month has been Maple Sugaring time at Malabar.  The crowds are pouring in, as the demand for homegrown food and natural products are more relevant than ever.  

     The wagon rides make it a memorable day!                                
We love Malabar and want continued protection of the land and farm management by the conservation principles Louis Bromfield promoted.  It is good for the locals and our welcomed guests alike. We are acutely aware that farm run-off is impacting our waterways and lakes.  Conservation "best practices" and conservation education should be Ohio Department of Natural Resources highest goal for this treasured farm.

Flora-Quest was started as an eco-tourism event to enlarge the constituency of the Shawnee Park and Forest. It is no secret people naturally want to protect and conserve the birds, butterflies, plants, and trees, once they understand the basic ecology.  We are now in our 7th year, and have already filled 2013's event.

Eco-tourism works!

The Biggest Week in American Birding is another excellent example of the good that can come from tourism.  People were already coming to Magee Marsh to see the spring Warblers, so why not organize the mayhem?  Now out-of -towners can get up to date information, and a myriad of trip offerings help spread the birders far and wide across Ottawa County. Ottawa County Convention and Visitors Bureau knows BWIAB is a key player in the local economy and local politicians know, too.  

Economic statistics may be the only thing preventing the full scale "bird-beater" landscape on the Erie Shores horizon.  Kim  and Kenn Kaufman have worked tirelessly to get the message  across: Wind power is great- when it is property placed. Wind power should not be placed in a migratory highway.  The science provided by Black Swamp Bird Observatory is conclusive. We know birds are migrating through the western basin of Lake Erie, both spring and fall.  First the ducks and swans,followed by millions of blackbirds, shorebirds and then neo-tropical warblers.  Migration is much more than a two week occurrence in May!  

Reason is one thing, but dollars talk.  Eco-tourism will help save the natural areas we treasure.  Help us keep our rivers clean, our forests pristine and our birds whole.  Make your voice heard about things that matter.   Ohio State Parks were set aside for the people, not for industry. Call your state representatives today.

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