A model for sustainable tourism in the San Juan Islands

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The San Juan Islands have the same problem as lots of beautiful places — it relies on tourism dollars and wants to welcome visitors, but the ecosystem can only take so much. So like other gorgeous and ecologically sensitive spots around the globe, these islands off the coast of Washington state have worked hard to develop sustainability policies to balance the needs of the land with the desires of humans. Inhabitat talked to Amy Nesler, communications and stewardship manager of Visit San Juan Islands, and Barbara Marrett, who recently retired from the same position after nine years with the visitors bureau. Both women have spent a good chunk of their careers ensuring that the islands are both welcoming and well stewarded. A sustainable tourism forerunner “In the old days, it was about bringing more people,” said Marrett of tourism philosophy. “But now, so much of it for places like the San Juan Islands and Sedona and these other really sensitive places it’s about how do you protect or even regenerate as much as just bring more people.” Visit San Juan Islands was one of the first visitors bureaus to focus on sustainability almost from its inception in 2003. One […]

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