Is Ecotourism a worse threat to Environment than grazing and industry development? One of the greatest hopes of people like me hoping that wildlife conservation efforts can be more politically successful in the future is that ecotourism can convert people to supporters of conservation but also create supporters of those who live near the tourism locations due to the economic benefits of tourism. But the results of this so far have been disappointing—in the western states of the U.S., ranchers and extractive industries as well as hunters continue to dominate policymaking making me wonder when, if ever, the “new West” will become politically potent? Moreover, there is substantial evidence that tourism can harm wildlife especially when there are no controls over it but even when there are relatively small encounters. I detail the positive and problematic aspects of ecotourism's effects on wildlife in Ch. 11 of my Wildlife Politics book. Jim Stiles of High Country News contributed an editorial piece (not part of HCN’s official policy) that questions the conversion of Bears Ears to monument status. His view is not based, of course, on the harm to industry and ranchers but the bad effects of “runaway tourism” that brings crowds so large that the Arches National Park was overwhelmed. He suggests avoiding building of “extravagant visitor centers” and concentrate on enforcement of “the archaeological protection” rules. He warns that otherwise the “monument designation” may destroy the “very qualities its supporters want to protect.” My own response is that the kinds of rules that he sees as an alternative to monuments should be able to be implemented for monuments too? Do monuments have to mean that “industrial strength tourism” will be welcome? Check out the Stiles article at: Jim Stiles. How environmentalists could do more for Bears Ears
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.