Guidance for Natural and Cultural Resource Managers and Community Leaders
Because the resources of our state can be impacted by overuse, it is important for natural and cultural resource managers and community leaders to plan activities for a sustainable use.
Assess the impact of nature-based tourism
on the resource, the landowners and managers,
the community and the tourism industry...then
assess the current tourism situation and potential.
Effective community planning often involves a coordinated effort on the part of community leaders, elected officials, business people and private and public land owners and managers. This group works together to develop an overall vision and strategy for making naturebased tourism an important part of the local economy. Community planning involves identifying nature and cultural tourism opportunities, infrastructure assets and needs, and developing an action plan to achieve the desired goals of the community. In a state such as Texas where 94% of the land is privately owned, the involvement and support of private landowners is key to achieving a strong nature-based tourism industry.
A basic understanding is needed of the kinds and intensity of activities the resources can accommodate. The areas to be considered should include:
- Assessing the impact of nature-based tourism on the resource, the land owners and managers, the community and the tourism industry.
- How many visitors and use types can a resource accommodate without adverse impact? How will that impact be measured?
- How will conflicting uses of resources be planned for and managed?
- How can managers encourage and secure community involvement?
- How do resource managers bring resource users (individuals, user groups and tourism businesses) into the planning and management process?
- Assessing the current tourism situation and potential.
- What is the current level of visitation?
- Is that level causing an adverse impact on the resource?
- What is the attitude of the surrounding community toward the resource/visitation?
- Are there problems associated with the current level of resource use?
- What are the physical assets and liabilities of the resource?
Consider creating a regional
tourism development plan.
• Inventory existing infrastructure and decide what may be needed to accommodate present and future visitation.
• Decide, from a balanced perspective, which kinds and intensities of nature tourism activity are appropriate for the resource.
• Evaluate community tourism plans (if any exist), and then strive to determine needs of nature tourism operators for potential businesses in the resource region. Look for common ground.
• From these activities consider creating a regional nature-based tourism
• Consider regional cooperative marketing opportunities.
• Institute regular natural resource impact assessments and revise management strategy to achieve goals for careful resource use and protection.
• Consider creating a process for evaluating and reinventing the nature tourism plan, including bringing fresh and future ideas and suggestions for careful resource use and conservation.
* Adapted from guidelines developed by Clemson University in a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.