What is the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition?

The Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition is a group committed to promoting environmental conservation and building thriving communities through nature-based tourism in the Great Plains. The Coalition includes both non-profit and for-profit members. The Coalition is coordinated by staff at the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Coalition Works to:

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is travel that deepens one’s engagement with nature, conserves the environment, and improves the well-being of local communities.

Ecotourism stimulates curiosity about the natural world, builds understanding of natural processes, and helps develop a consciousness of our role as nature’s stewards.

Ecotourist sites provide places to walk, hike, camp, photograph, observe, touch, smell, learn about, and reflect upon the wondrous natural environment that is the Great Plains; ecotourism providers offer interpretation or education that connects the traveler to the land; and some also offer opportunities to engage more deeply, by volunteering or participating in programs that support and sustain this precious legacy.  Ecotourist sites are open to the public, either free or for a fee.  The sites may be owned by a governmental entity, a nonprofit or tribal organization, or a private for-profit business.

Why Does Ecotourism Matter?

Ecotourism generates revenues critical for funding conservation initiatives, increases public awareness of and support for conservation, and helps nearby human communities thrive economically and culturally. All three of these elements are crucial to sustained and healthy conservation in the Great Plains. Ecotourism offers some of the most magical and inspiring moments of the human experience.

See some of the research on our More on Ecotourism page.

By joining the Coalition, members share in and agree to:

Questions or comments about the project can be directed toward knieland2@unl.edu.

Click here to visit and like our Facebook page!

Original ecotourism partners include the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Calamus Outfitters (Switzer Ranch and Nature Reserve)

Subscribe to a monthly newsletter from the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition and the Nebraska Tourism Commission: “Ecotourism on the Prairie”

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