Ecotourism (also known as ecological tourism) as described from various sources on the internet and books is travel to tranquil and sometimes fragile places which are unpolluted and  sometimes protected by organizations. 

Ecotourism can appeal to different types of individuals.  Usually responsible and socially conscious individuals are the ones focusing on personal growth, volunteering, and seeking out new ways to tread lightly and make the planet a better place for generations to come.  This is what ecotourism is all about.  It typically involves traveling to sometimes remote destinations where flowers, mountainous or rock formations, and types of cultural heritage are the primary attractions.  With ecotourism we get an idea of our impact on this planet and learn how humanity should have a greater appreciation for our natural surroundings.

In addition to enjoying our own natural habitats, ecotourism can include programs to teach us how to minimize our negative impact on the environment and how to not degrade but enhance its beauty.  Therefore, a very important part of ecotourism is the promotion of  but not limited to energy efficiency, recycling, and water conservation.

For many places, ecotourism is not only a small way to protect the environment, but is also a major way to support the industry of the economy.  It builds environmental awareness, minimizes impact, teaches us our local culture, and probably the best of all involves travel to natural destinations.


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Nowhere else on earth...


The Nature Conservancy's Clinch Valley Program oversees the watersheds of the Clinch, Powell, and Holston rivers in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee in an area that has been designated by the Conservancy as one of the "Last Great Places" on earth.

Clinch Valley Preserves include: Pendleton Island, Kyle's Ford, Beech Grove Cliffs, Cleveland Island, Gray's Island, Unthanks Cave, Fletcher Ford, Freeman/Kerney Island, and The Cedars.

In addition, the Clinch Valley Program has created several new ways of conserving the other rare or endangered areas.  Over 20 miles of streams have been fenced and restored through the voluntary riparian restoration program.  Also, using conservation easements, the Conservancy has permanently protected another 750 acres, while the landowners retain ownership of the land.

For membership and volunteer information, please call the Clinch Valley Program office at 540-676-2209 or become a member online at



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