News Release

For Release: August 28, 2008       
Contact:   BLM:  Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332 or Rick Hanks (831) 372-6105 
CA-N-08-87

BLM, Partners Endorse Geotourism Principles on California Coast 

Recognizing that unmatched scenery and unique communities draw tourists from around the world to the northern California coast, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and local organizations today agreed to cooperate in supporting tourism approaches that protect the integrity, diversity and natural resources of the region.
 
Officials from the BLM and its north coast partners in the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) signed agreements that incorporate a series of "geotourism approaches and principles" into their existing partnerships.
 
North coast organizations signing the agreement include the city of Trinidad, Trinidad Rancheria, Trinidad Museum Society, Tsurai Ancestral Society, the Yurok tribe, the city of Point Arena, the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers Association, the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, and Coastwalk.
 
In the agreements, the partners agreed that tourism development should:

• Maintain the integrity of communities, with improvements intended to reflect and conserve the distinctive character of each area's environment and local heritage.

• Encourage growth in tourism segments most likely to appreciate and respect the unique qualities of the north coast and its communities.

 "These principles were initially developed by the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations," said Rick Hanks, manager of the California Coastal National Monument.  "Under the principles, local communities and organizations promote tourism in ways that sustain or enhance what makes the California Coast so special -- natural environments, cultures, aesthetics, and community heritage."

The tourism principles call on communities and businesses to be heavily involved in developing plans to attract tourists who appreciate the need to protect the character of the coast.  The tourism principles stress that coastal economies can benefit by sustaining natural resources and managing tourism at levels that do not cause environmental damage. A National Geographic study has concluded that travelers who qualify as "geotourists," including most international visitors, travel frequently and stay longer.

Partners in the agreement have been working with the BLM as "gateway" communities of the BLM’s California Coastal National Monument.  Gateways are areas where tourists and local residents can learn more about the features of the CCNM, which includes more than 20,000 rocks and islands off the California Coast.  Gateways also can link local communities and various coastal initiatives.  Find more information at www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/nm/ccnm.html.

Signatures on the agreements represent a first step in developing a National Geographic "Map Guide" for the California Coast.  The guide will be developed in phases with work to begin first on the section of coast stretching from the Oregon border to San Francisco.  Opportunities for public participation in the project will be announced.

The BLM, working in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Game, California State Parks, local governments and private organizations, manages the CCNM to protect the features and the unique habitat they provide for plants and animals, including seabirds and marine mammals.

-BLM-

California Coastal National Monument     299 Foam Street     Monterey, CA  93940