Birding Trails Could Help Local Economies
This is for the birds, and it’s
worth a lot of money for local communities. How many
of you live in areas that may offer eco-tours? What
do these tours normally want to show you? The local flora and
Limpkin eating Apple Snail
of course, and birds are
attracting more people - birding is a big industry - even if
the local topography is not that beautiful. For example, north
central Nebraska is not known as a tourist mecca, yet it attracts more
than 80,000 people in a two month period each year to see the sandhill
cranes that migrate there. They spend over $80 million in that area.
That ain’t hay, either.
Florida is known for its birds in the
Everglades, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Merrit Island Wildlife
Preserves, our National Forests, and along our extensive shores.
And birding occurs all year long in
many cases. We are second in the nation in nonconsumptive bird
related activities. (That means we don’t kill and eat
them)... Guess what these birders "flock" to?
Common Egret on
Hotels, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, and restaurants. Include
the clothing and binoculars, books, cameras, film, anything related
to outdoor travel, and you get the idea of what people looking at a
few birds can do for your economy.
Texas made new road maps to promote
bird routes. Done in full color with birds painted on them, these
ecotourism maps show viewing areas, bird routes, best viewing times,
and species. One can walk, ride a bike, go by horseback or car to
Florida has started planning a 2000 mile
birding trail. The first guide is called the Great Florida Birding
Trail, east section, and is produced by the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission, also with the Florida Park
Service, Florida Dept . of Transportation, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The guide is divided into clusters
(sections). Marion County has two sites listed under the upland songbird
section - the Silver River State Park, and Oklawaha Prairie restorational area.
Prairie is included in Alachua county. Brevard County has 27
different birding sites, including Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge and the Kenedy Space Center, where many shorebirds - egrets,
herons, pelicans, roseate spoonbills, gulls, wood storks congregate.
Nominations are being taken for future Florida sites. Imagine what
a site near your hometown could do for caring
about and preserving the environment
and for businesses in the area. So, the next time you are
feeding your wild birds in your backyard, look around your area and
ask yourself -"Can my hometown or local area be listed as a
birding site?" Those tourist dollars may mean the difference between
a pristine wilderness area being preserved for all generations,
or being destroyed by development because no one cares.
The guides are free, go online and download the
guide at www.floridabirdingtrail.com
or write :Great Florida Birding Trail, 620 S. Meridian St.,
Tallahassee, FL, 32399-1600.
If you think your area
might qualify to be in the guide, contact them! For those people in
other states, contact your Wildlife Service, Park Service,
Fish and Game, and get a guide started. Your local Audubon Society
may also be of
some help in identifying prime birding areas, and
getting the word out to those that can make this happen.
see the eagle soar....
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