Treasure Mountain Inn: An Eco-Friendly Destination for Travelers

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Eight years ago, environmental activists Andy Beerman and Thea Leonard became the co-owners of Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah.

The couple had worked at the inn for years prior to purchasing the property. Beerman, who worked as a guide and has degrees in outdoor education and environmental studies, now incorporates his personal, environmental principles into the business.

And his principles have paid off. Earlier this year, the hotel was the first recipient of Park City Municipal’s new Environmental Heroes Award. The award recognizes local leaders who work to protect Park City’s environment. Treasure Mountain Inn, the area’s only green-certified, 100 percent carbon-neutral hotel, was also the first local hotel to start recycling in 1996.

“This is an ongoing process,” says Beerman, about the couple’s efforts to make the hotel more eco-friendly….

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Notes from New Mexico – Documenting Ecotourism

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From Albuquerque, highway 25 sprawls northeast to Santa Fe and Taos, alongside vast mountain ranges, beside pastel-red adobe homes and flashing casino lights, past cholla cacti and ranching supply stores and tribal reservations. The Rio Grande River Gorge cuts through the landscape, quietly winding south under a brilliant blue sky.

New Mexico is a place of converging cultures, a state where ranch lands border Native American reservations; where filmmakers, skiers, and artists flock; where Hispanics and descendants of Spanish conquistadors live together, along with 19 sovereign Native American nations. The topography is just as diverse, from sprawling deserts to high mountain ranges and pine forests.

I was in New Mexico with Green Living Project, a media production and marketing company that showcases sustainability initiatives around the globe, to check out the state’s ecotourism initiative….

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Ecotourists Save the World

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If you could help save wildlife and their habitats from destruction, would you do it? What if it involved traveling to a far-off location to live in relatively primitive conditions, work long hours, and complete difficult, sometimes dangerous, tasks? Oh, and you might have to pay to do it.

Is that your idea of a good time? Then Ecotourists Save the World is a book you’ll want to read.

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, writer Pamela Brodowsky has compiled an extensive resource of volunteer opportunities to protect wildlife around the world. You’ll find, as the subtitle says, “More Than 300 International Adventures to Conserve, Preserve, and Rehabilitate Wildlife and Habitats.”

In the introduction, Brodowsky writes,

“Did you know … one in three amphibians, nearly half of all turtles and tortoises, one in four mammals, one in five sharks and rays, and one in eight bird species are now considered at risk of extinction? Habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution, and climate change are taking their toll on our world’s species and the places that they inhabit.”

The cool thing is, you can do something about it….

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Ecotourism – Leave Nothing but Footprints and Goodwill

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Perhaps you’ve dreamed of vacationing at a resort on a tropical island, surrounded by a luxury hotel with every convenience you could desire: Food and drink served in abundance in any number of dining locations. Beach chairs and umbrellas on the pristine sands of an exclusive beach. A swim bar in the middle of a sparkling pool for guests only. Nightclubs with live entertainment right on the property. Sophisticated staff from countries around the world. And a direct shuttle to carry you safely between the airport and the hotel.

Why would you care to venture out and see the island, with everything you need right here? And why would you want to meet the local people, when their extreme poverty would put a damper on your luxury vacation?

Why, indeed?…

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Notes from Nepal: Cautions about Expanding Ecotourism

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Ghale Gaun is an inviting village of about 200-300 people. It sits 2,075 meters above sea level in the remote mountains of Nepal inside the Annapurna Conservation Area. Ghale Gaun is becoming an increasingly popular ecotourism and village-tourism destination, attracting many national and international visitors. Previously, the major source of income of the village people was from international sources, as most of the young boys were involved in the armies of the United Kingdom and India. Because it is a very poor village, the prospect of creating a new income source is highly appealing to the residents.

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