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Published on March 30th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans


Local Ecotravel

Ecotourism frequently conjures up images of untouched, exotic corners of the Brazilian rainforest or unimaginably pristine coves on the coast of South Africa.

Local eco travelers can create a similar experience closer to home, without adding tonnes of carbon to their travel footprint…

On the Road to a Bioregional Vacation

The Closer to Home, The Greener You Go

In very basic terms, ecotourism protects the environmental resources and supports the economic stability of a particular place.

  • Domestic eco-adventures within the U.S., often called bioregional vacations, leave a smaller carbon trail than international travel, as 12 to 20 hour flights are simply not necessary.
  • Driving to your eco-vacation destination can be eco-friendly, if operating a hybrid or a vehicle compatible with bio-diesel.
  • There are plenty of towns and cities across the country that have suffered past or recent economic collapse due to natural disaster, negligence, or lack of foresight.  A visit allows you experience life in another corner of the country, and helps to rebuild the local economy.

Though all the goals of ecotourism may not be met by every American travel destination, thought and planning by committed eco-tourists helps.

Local Travel Opportunities

Domestic pursuits of environmentally friendly fun and education take many unusual forms…  Here are a few of the possibilities:

  • Is tee time a vacation essential for you or your loved ones?  Check out the list of golf courses that have teamed up with the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs by joining the golf program of the Audubon International Ecotourism Alliance.  The efforts of this alliance increase environmentally-supportive management of the lands used by golfers and build awareness in the golfing community.
  • One green-living publication selected ten top eco-tourism destinations in North America.  Domestic places of interest include Yosemite National Park in California, and a handful of lodges that aspire to meet eco-tourism standards.
  • Outdoorsy travelers who are community-minded may find great potential in volunteer vacations.  The American Hiking Society organizes trips that bring volunteers together to rebuild trails and shelters along various trails in unaltered backcountry areas.  State Parks all over the United States participate in this program—view their schedule.  Thanks to a wide variety of different locations, one may be nearby, which cuts down on gas-guzzling travel time.

So many possibilities for domestic eco-travel await the savvy eco-tourist.  This list is by no means comprehensive but it provides a good start for the environmental enthusiast looking to relax and take some time away without leaving a huge carbon trail behind.

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