Thursday, September 2, 2010


Ecotravel News has been published for three years and now has come to a close. Thanks to those who found the site and enjoyed the stories.

Image from Free Images Live . com

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy third anniversary to us

We missed our second anniversary of publication last year because we were away on vacation and totally forgot... so this year we are celebrating early.

Image from David Gardener

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Idaho Seven Devils mts, little known gem

Idaho Statesman reports on Idaho's hidden gem of the Seven Devils mountains.
Many people don't know this majestic mountain range is [just off the US-95 near Riggins], or don't take the trouble to find it because Seven Devils is farther off the beaten path than the Sawtooths.

But if you love Idaho's scenic backcountry, it's a place you should visit at least once. If you're the adventurous type, it's someplace you can explore for years and still find new surprises.

"This is an absolutely fascinating place," said fire lookout Michael Oliver, whose tower has some of the best views in Idaho.

Oliver gets visits from folks ranging from locals to European tourists, from hardcore hikers and horsepackers who delve deep into the backcountry to families taking a scenic drive.
Read the full story: Seven Devils: these rugged mountains area little slice of heaven

Photo from Idaho Statesman

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

NW Indian Canoe Journey

Indian Country Today reports on the American Indian Canoe Journey celebrating northwest native culture in the Pacific Northwest.
While the Canoe Journey [this was the 21st annual] initially involved canoe cultures from the Salish Sea, its sphere of influence continues to grow. Joining Northwest Coast canoe families were Ainu from Japan, Inuit from Alaska and Greenland, and Maori from New Zealand.

The Canoe Journey is also a major tourism draw in the host nations and surrounding communities. Elwha Klallam, the second to last stop on the Peninsula before Makah, served 4,000 people – canoe pullers, families and visitors – at breakfast and dinner for two days. It was quite a feat of coordination.
Read the full story: Canoe Journey builds bridges between cultures

Photo by Molly Neely-Walker

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is diversionary feeding of wild bears helpful or not

Discovery News' Larry O'Hanlon questions whether diversionary feeding of wild bears is good or bad.
All home break-ins, tent raids and many other bear incidents are by bears who are suffering from forests damaged by fires, drought or other factors that have reduced their food supply, said Montana bear biologist Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute in Minnesota. This intensifies when bears enter their "hyperphagic," heavy eating stage in the fall, before hibernation.

"It's food that they are after," explains U.S. Geological Survey biologist Chuck Schwartz, who is the leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. He said the same applies to all bears, from grizzlies to black bears.

"These bears are in this state when they need this food to make it through the winter."

So why not scatter leftover orchard fruit in the woods for bears to forage on? Well for one thing, such "diversionary feeding" can be against the law. That was the case at Lake Tahoe, Calif., where the Bear League tried it a few years ago and claim they saw an immediate halt to bear break-ins.
Read the full story: Should we feed wild bears?

Photo from iStock via Discovery News

Friday, July 30, 2010

Be "bear aware" when visiting Glacier NP

National Parks Traveler reports that Glacier National Park officials are telling visitors to be more aware of bears.

Two bear cubs were hit and killed by vehicles and several campers and hikers have encountered bears this year.
One [of the bear cubs] was killed by a driver who immediately reported the incident. The other was found dead and had suffered injuries consist with being hit by a vehicle. Drivers are reminded to obey the park speed limits and drive with due regard for bears and other wildlife that may be on or near the roads.

Hikers and backpackers are particularly at risk of encountering bears under potentially dangerous circumstances. To minimize the risk of injury or death (and lethal consequences for the problem bears involved), all trail users are urged to heed the rules and guidelines pertaining to hiking and camping in bear country.
Read the full story: Glacier National Park Officials urge visitors to be "bear aware"

Photo from National Parks Service

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sleep among the trees in Sweden's newest novelty hotel

Financial Times reports on the new hotel in Sweden where guests sleep among the trees.

Located in Harads in northern Swedish Lapland, the Treehotel has uniquely designed rooms like a mirror cube (picture) that are placed among treetops in the forested location. The design elements are meant to assimilate with nature as much as possible. According to the architects special features like infrared coating on the cube room's mirror prevent birds from hitting it.
In providing novelty in a natural environment, the Treehotel is a successor to the wildly successful Icehotel, built from snow and ice every winter 160 miles north of [Treehotel's location] near Kiruna. It is also part of the “landscape hotel” trend – stylishly designed luxury hotels placed in the middle of nowhere, not so much for their proximity to hiking or other outdoor activities as for the views from their (usually) floor-to-ceiling windows.
Read the full story: A luxury hotel in Sweden's treetops

Photo from Treehotel

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Half of China's water polluted and undrinkable: study

Reuters via Environmental News Network reports on China's polluted water supplies where more than half is undrinkable and one quarter unsuitable for industrial use.
Inspectors from China's Ministry of Environmental Protection tested water samples from the country's major rivers and lakes in the first half of the year and declared just 49.3 percent to be safe for drinking, up from 48 percent last year, the ministry said in a notice posted on its website (

Despite tougher regulations over the last decade, the ministry has struggled to rein in the thousands of small paper mills, cement factories and chemical plants discharging industrial waste directly into the country's waterways, and the overuse of fertilizers has also left large sections of China's lakes and rivers choking with algae.
Read the full story: Pollution makes quarter of China water unusable

Photo from My Health Beijing

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moscow blanketed with thick smog

ITN reports that Moscow is enveloped in thick smog due to fires, high heat and pervasive air pollution.
The Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters said 21 fires across 42 acres were burning in the region.

As a result, the Russian capital has been shrouded in a fog, causing breathing difficulties for many residents.

In Moscow's outskirts, crops have been destroyed by the fires, causing huge financial losses to farmers. Wildlife has also been affected.
Read the full story: Moscow shrouded by smog due to forest fires

Photo from ITN

Monday, July 26, 2010

View record salmon at WA state dam

The Wenatchee World via USA Today reports on the record number of sockeye salmon now making their way through Washington State's Rocky Reach Dam to their Canadian spawning grounds.
This year at Rocky Reach, the numbers of returning adult sockeye have surged past 271,000, said Steve Hemstrom, Chelan County PUD senior fisheries biologist. More than 247,000 of those swam through the dam's viewing windows in the last 22 days. The peak run for one 24-hour period occurred July 5 when 23,705 sockeye were counted. That's an average of about 1,000 per hour.

Many of the returning sockeye, now fighting their way up the Columbia River, will likely make a left turn at the Okanogan River and swim north to spawn in Lake Osoyoos, Hemstrom said. Curious observers at a high vantage point — say, the Okanogan River bridge in Omak — could likely see hundreds, maybe thousands of these fish making their way to Canadian home waters, he added.
Read the full story: Record number of sockeye salmon on view at Washington dam

Photo from Don Seabrook / The Wenatchee World / AP

Friday, July 23, 2010

Global eco-friendly beaches

Mother Nature Network has a slide show of eight eco-friendly beaches around the world.

Among the beaches are:

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Island, Australia (picture): won the award for "Cleanest beach in Queensland."

Koh Libong, Trang Province, Thailand

Las Islas Cies, Galicia, Spain

See the slide show: 8 of the greatest eco-friendly beaches in the world

Photo from Tourism Whitsundays

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Caught on video: provoked bison injures tourists

CNN via National Parks Traveler reports on the Yellowstone bison who charged at two tourists that got too close while taking video.

The video also shows someone off camera throwing a stick at the animal which has many speculating that this could have provoked the bison to charge.

Watch the video below:

See the full story: Bison that charged Yellowstone NP visitors was provoked

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mt Rainier trail washed out by 2006 flooding to open again

The Seattle Times reports that the popular trail around Mt Rainier washed out by at 2006 flood has been rerouted and will be open for hikers.
This week, park officials hope to open the lower, mile-long section of the new Glacier Basin trail, improved and rerouted.

Much of the original Glacier Basin trail, once a straightforward dirt path, was wiped out by about 18 inches of rain that poured down in 36 hours and raged through the White River Valley in November 2006.

The Inter Fork River overtook the trail, where it still flows. For the past four years, hikers and mountaineers have been forced to the river's side, where they scramble up loose rock fields or precariously hop from stone to log to cross the river.

While the first 5,000 feet of trail was expected to open this week, work has just begun on the next 1,500-foot section — which is slated to be ready for hikers early next spring.
Read the full story: Popular Mount Rainier National Park trail is restored, rerouted

Photo from Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 Gulf oil spill animals could go extinct

Mother Nature Network has a slide show of 10 animals they say are "at risk for extinction" from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
For a handful of species, however, the spill may be the final nail in the coffin. The situation is so dire that one major online gambling site has begun allowing bets on which Gulf animals are most likely to be declared extinct first.
Among the list are:

- Great Lakes Piping Plover (picture): their foraging areas are coastlines that washed up oil now covers.

- Smalltooth and Largetooth Sawfish: while the largetooth "may already be extinct in the region," the smalltooth nursery areas are in the oil spill's path.

- Manatees: the oil is spilling into these endangered animals' summer habitat off Florida which could prompt a "massive" rescue and removal effort.

Read the full story: 10 animals at risk of extinction from Gulf oil spill

Photo from Steven Senne / AP

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rare Sri Lanka primate caught on camera

Agence France-Press reports on the sighting and photograph of an extremely rare and thought-to-be extinct Sri Lankan primate.

The nocturnal loris, a 6 inch primate with small ears and large eyes, was last sighted on the island-nation in 2002 and scientists thought it had since died out. Its interior Sri Lanka jungle habitat is being razed in favor of tea plantations. This has created divisions of the shy mammals territory making it difficult for them to seek out mates and breed.
[Field] researchers, working with the Zoological Society of London, managed to track down the mysterious creature in the forests of central Sri Lanka.

In a world first, they were able to take pictures of an adult male slender loris sitting on a tree branch.

The field team was able to capture one of the creatures and give it a physical examination, the first time that has ever been done, before releasing it back into the wild.
Read the full story: Wide-eyed primate caught on camera for first time

Photo from France 24

Friday, July 16, 2010

Swim with whale sharks in Baja, Mexico

MSNBC reports on the adventure of swimming with whale sharks, "the world's largest fish," in the Mexico's Sea of Cortez.
Whale sharks grow up to 40 feet but have very small teeth and aren't predatory. That means they won't try to eat you. Gentle giants, they gather each fall at Bahia de Los Angeles — almost halfway down the Baja Peninsula on the Sea of Cortez — to filter-feed on microscopic organisms called plankton.

The Mexican government also seems concerned about whale sharks, marking off with buoys the part of Bahia de los Angeles where whale sharks congregate and enforcing rules for interacting with the animals. Chasing or herding sharks isn't allowed. No more than three people per boat may be in the water at any time. Touching sharks is prohibited.
Read the full story: Swim with the world's largest fish in Mexico

Photo from Baja Airventures Inc.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hiking among Indonesia's volcanoes

The New York Times' Edward Wong reports on his hiking trip among Java's volcanoes.
Flirting with the fury of a volcano may not sound like the usual tourist fare, but in recent years, these imperious volcanoes have become an increasingly popular draw that is away from the crowded resorts of Bali, which lies just east of Java. Last year, more than 93,000 people visited Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, Indonesia’s most famous volcano preserve, up 78 percent from the previous year, according to the park’s main ranger station.
We were also pleased to see Mr. Wong refer to his faithful hiking partner Tini, finally, as his wife, previously she was always just referred to as his "friend."

Read the full story: In Java, risking the wrath of a volcano

Photo by Edward Wong / The New York Times

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Russia expands conservation areas

Environmental News Network reports that Russia will expand their wildlife protected areas 3 percent by 2020.

The new conservation space will be almost the size of the country of Switzerland.
The Russian government's decision establishes 9 new nature reserves and 13 national parks covering a total area of over 3.8 million [hectares] by 2020. Russia is also introducing marine buffer zones of over 1 million ha.

An existing 9 reserves and 1 national park will see their areas increased by 500 thousand ha.

The decision was based on an analysis of WWF in cooperation with The Nature Coservancy and MAVA Foundation, carried out between 2006-2008, and is aimed at fulfilling Russia's commitment under the Convention on Biodiversity to establish effective protected area systems that safeguard biodiversity.
Read the full story: Russia to create national parks and reserves nearly size of Switzerland

Photo from ENN

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gulf hotels offer oil-free or your money back

USA Today reports that several Gulf Coast hotels are now offering oil-free beaches guarantees.

This is in the wake of the BP oil spill which is still currently spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico and affecting some beaches bordering the area.

"It's frustrating to get the word out that the beaches are fine," says Park Brady, CEO of ResortQuest International, one of the largest operators of vacation rental companies on the coast.

ResortQuest, which typically charges a 15% deposit and full payment shortly before arrival, is issuing full refunds if customers can't use the beach. "It eased a lot of fears," Brady says.

Read the full story: Gulf Coast hotels roll out oil-free beach guarantees

Photo by Michael Spooneybarger / AP

Monday, July 12, 2010

Georgia's eco-island where bats control mosquitoes

Mother Nature Network's Destination of the Week is Little St. Simmons Island, Georgia.

This private island off-grid resort only allows 32 overnight guests.
As one of only two Green Globe 21 Benchmarked properties in the U.S., LSSI’s commitment to low-impact lodging exceeds standard leave-your-bath-towel-on-the-floor-if-you-want-it-laundered practices:

- Three of the guest houses, Tom House, Cedar House and River Lodge, feature geothermal HVAC systems.

- Rain barrels are a common site throughout the island.

- The recycling/composting program is comprehensive.

- You won’t find a single plastic water bottle on the entire island since guests are provided with their own Camelback reusable bottles.

- To keep a somewhat notorious bug population at bay, the island has instituted an eco-friendly, larvicide-based mosquito control program. However, if you’re skittish around bats take heed: There are bat houses in place to help keep the mosquito population in check.
Read the full story: Little St. Simmons Island, Georgia

Photo by Matt Hickman

Friday, July 9, 2010

Explore underwater paradise with the whole family

The Star-Telegram reports on five global snorkeling spots where exploring the beauty of underwater paradise is a family-friendly affair.

Along with three places in the Caribbean, Alaska and Florida are also mentioned.
Ketchikan, Alaska. Zip on your head-to-toe wet suit and explore the colorful and diverse marine life in the chilly waters of southeastern Alaska. Local water temperatures reach 65 degrees in midsummer. Participants must weigh at least 90 pounds. Waters are calm; some tidal pools are shallow. Later, join a half-day boat tour from Ketchikan Outdoors and cruise to a remote island for a picnic among wildlife.
Read the full story: Seaside getaways

Photo from Getty Images / Thinkstock

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Global search for temp panda handlers

Agence France-Press reports on the Chinese panda center's search for six temporary panda handlers.

The Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base in the southwest of China says it will have a worldwide contest to pick six panda enthusiasts who will then help look after the black and white mammals for a month. The winners will get to blog their experiences and bring awareness to the pandas' plight.
Huang Xiangming, head of the animal management department at the base, says that when it first opened in 1987, the centre only had six pandas, rescued starving from the wild. It now counts 84 permanent residents.

He says panda keepers are especially needed at times of mating in spring and birthing, which starts during the summer. These rituals are vital, as the animals' notoriously low libido has frustrated efforts to boost their numbers.
Details on the search have not yet been released.

Read the full story: China launches global search for panda keepers

Photo from France 24

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Solar plane takes off in Switzerland

Agence France-Press reports on the historical solar plane flight that took off this morning in Switzerland.

Star Impulse (picture right) set off to fly on a 25 hour trip from Payerne, Switzerland. The ground crew will see if it can take in enough electrical charge during daylight hours to continue overnight.
The round-the-clock flight by the prototype built last year is the first major hurdle for the project since it started seven years ago, with the aim of flying around the world by 2013 or 2014.
The speed is only 22 miles per hour with a single pilot. This is much slower than a small aircraft like a Cessna that reaches over 100 mph.

Read the full story: Solar plane sets out on historic flight

Photo from France 24

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oil-affected sea turtles won't be "incinerated alive"; BP, enviro groups, US Coast Guard

Reuters reports that an agreement between BP, environmental groups and the U.S. Coast Guard to burn off oil in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill won't burn sea turtles caught up in the oil.
Under the accord reached in talks on Thursday evening and Friday morning, the parties agreed to a plan allowing biologists or other trained wildlife observers to accompany oil-incineration vessels at sea to remove as many turtles as possible from designated areas before burning starts.

Private boat captains chartered for wildlife rescue missions in the Gulf said in affidavits filed with the lawsuit that young sea turtles tend to congregate among oil blobs floating in the water, apparently unable to distinguish between the oil and mats of seaweed that provide natural shelter on the surface of the Gulf.

The turtles are then presumably swept up and unable to escape when shrimp boats contracted for cleanup operations are used to drag fire-resistant booms to encircle the floating oil before it is set ablaze.
Read the full story: Deal struck to save turtles from Gulf oil burns

Photo from Tour de Turtles

Friday, July 2, 2010

More July 4th travelers than last year

USA Today reports that more people than last year will be "hitting the road" this July Fourth holiday because of their bursting need to get away.
About 34.9 million will take a trip at least 50 miles from home, up 17.1% from 2009, and 90% of them will travel by car, AAA projects.

"Some Americans are feeling more confident about their personal financial situation compared to a year ago," says Troy Green, AAA's national spokesman. Also, he sees "pent-up demand," because many Americans stayed home last year, which had the least number of Fourth of July travelers this decade.
Read the full story: 'Pent-up demand' for travel erupts over July 4th holiday

Photo by Keith Srakocic / AP

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Global Conservation Award goes to... Emirates

Terra Curve reports on the Global Conservation Award win by the Emirates Hotels & Resorts.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are the World Travel & Tourism Council’s highest-profile global accolade, recognizing best practices in sustainable tourism development, conservation and biodiversity protection.

Within the Emirates Group, the Emirates Hotels & Resorts (EH&R) portfolio encompasses three major conservation projects spread across three continents: Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai; Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia; and the forthcoming Cap Ternay Resort & Spa in the Seychelles.
Read the full story: Emirates wins big for conservation

Here's a look at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve at the Al Maha along with other Dubai conservation efforts:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Name the baby gorillas in Rwanda

Global Post reports on the sixth annual baby gorilla naming event in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park.

In a country home to roughly a third of the world’s 700 remaining mountain gorillas, the annual event, known as Kwita Izina, is a celebrity-laden affair designed to draw attention to global awareness of biodiversity and conservation.

Names for the 14 infant gorillas included "Kinyarwanda-language monikers such as "Igihembo" (Prize), "Ubuhamya" (Testimony) and "Umurage" (Legacy) and "Waka Waka," meaning "Do It" in Cameroon’s Fang language."

Read the full story: Rwanda where there are baby gorillas to name

Photo by Jon Rosen / GlobalPost

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oil spill exhibit at Iowa aquarium

USA Today reports on the Iowa aquarium exhibiting Gulf of Mexico oil spill consequences.

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa was set to display Gulf of Mexico highlights, but decided to change the exhibit after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster; which continues to affect the area.
The main tank — the size of a school bus — will contain water and artificial coral, its sides adorned with window stickers that look like oil.

"It will look like the oil is sinking down and about to cover the coral, which will kill the coral," said Jerry Enzler, the museum's executive director.

Anywhere from 67 million to 127 million gallons of oil have spilled since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and blew out a well 5,000 feet underwater. BP PLC was leasing the rig from owner Transocean Ltd.

[The exhibit] will be a powerful message, said Steve Feldman, a spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit accrediting group based in Silver Springs, Md.

"The upclose connection to animals is very powerful. It's part of how we teach our children about nature and in this case, man's impact on nature," Feldman said.
Read the full story: Iowa aquarium exhibit highlights oil spill

Photo from National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium via AP

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gulf oil spill volunteering

Peter Greenberg Worldwide has a comprehensive guide for Gulf oil spill volunteering.

Volunteering is a noble way to spend a vacation but during this oil spill disaster make sure you have a solid volunteer offer before going to any of the areas affected.
Each state has its own resource where potential volunteers can register their information. Registration does not mean you’re guaranteed a volunteer position. Participants will be contacted only on an as-needed basis and local candidates will be considered first. If you do reach out to an organization to offer help, please make sure it’s connected with its state service commission. While local officials appreciate that visitors want to come and help, there is logic behind the limitations. Louisiana Service Commission Executive Director, Janet Pace, explains, she does not want to “put a good-hearted, well-meaning volunteers in harm’s way,” without a better understanding of the health hazards associated with the oil.
PGW also gives alternative ways to help like: coastline monitoring, adopting a pelican, and helping out the people affected.

Read the full story: BP Oil Spill News: Volunteer Guide - Helping Gulf Oil Clean-Up Efforts

Photo from

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oil turns FL beaches black

CNN reports on the miles of oil from the BP Gulf Coast oil spill now coating the beaches of Florida's panhandle.

The famous white sand beaches around Pensacola are now black with oil and the water is unsafe to swim in.
More than two months after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Pensacola awoke Wednesday to the largest onslaught of black crude on Florida's coast, as more than nine miles of white shoreline and beaches were soaked with syrupy oil.

A health advisory has been issued by Escambia County for parts of Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens.

"It's pretty ugly. There's no question about it," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said. "It does break your heart."
Tourists are canceling their reservations to the normally bustling summer tourist area.

Read the full story: Oil soaks miles of Pensacola Beach

Photo from James Amerson / CNN iReport