Nature tourism benefits entire communities because visitors pay for fuel, meals, lodging, shopping, film and other goods and services. These kinds of expenditures result in more jobs for residents.
Clarksville Cashes In On Conservation
by Lisa DeBruyckere
For 17 years, Clarksville, a town on the Mississippi River south of Hannibal, with less than 1,000 people, has profited from the return of bald eagles to Missouri.
As increasing numbers of the once endangered national symbol return to this northeast Missouri river town to feed on fish in the river, Clarksville citizens partner with Conservation Department and Army Corps of Engineers to host an "Eagle Days" event.
This small town booms during the popular January weekend, with visitation reaching 7,000. Business increases during the eagle extravaganza, but more than individual shopkeepers benefit from this kind of nature tourism.
Watching wildlife benefits entire communities because visitors pay for fuel, meals, lodging, shopping, film and other goods and services. These kinds of expenditures result in more jobs for small-community citizens.
Just watching a bald eagle on a cold winter day in northeast Missouri can have far-reaching implications for entire ecosystems. When people learn more about the habitat requirements of wildlife, they support and vote soundly on environmental issues. For example, people who visit Clarksville, on Eagle Day events leave understanding breeding and wintering needs of bald eagles.
This understanding translates into a desire by visitors to protect river systems, use pesticides and herbicides with care, and provide nesting and other habitat requirements, not only for eagles but for many other wildlife species.
And eagles aren't the only lure to bustling Clarksville. The town's Big River Days festivals and Fall Foliage Tours, both in the Fall, draw visitors from far away to appreciate nature's beauty and Clarksville's river town ambience.
Puxico - Just 'Naturally' Growing
by Steve Kappler
Modest, well-kept homes, neatly trimmed lawns, a nostalgic hometown feeling - that's the idyllic setting travelers encounter in Puxico.
The town is typical of many rural communities, except that Puxico is growing, and an upbeat attitude is evident in Puxico's 819 residents.
It's especially evident when talking to Doyle Mitchell, Puxico's mayor. "Visitors are helping Puxico grow," Mitchell says. He cites the prosperity of local businesses that provide food or supplies to travelers.
And what brings visitors to a little town in southeast Missouri? For Mitchell, the answer is obvious: It's outdoor recreation on the 239,000 acres of public land near Puxico. In fact, it might be difficult to find another Missouri town