Ecotourism Workshop Set for Sept. 28-29 in Monroe

Release Date: 09/09/2011

Ecotourism Workshop Set for Sept. 28-29 in Monroe

Sept. 9, 2011 - A two-day workshop on developing outdoor recreation on agricultural lands has been scheduled for Sept. 28-29 at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, La.

Sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and Mississippi State University’s Natural Resource Enterprises Program, the program will focus on developing ecotourism activities featuring wildlife and water systems on farmlands.

Guest speakers will talk about revenue potential, outdoor recreational opportunities on farmlands, how to start an outfitter business and legal concerns, as well as hunting and crawfish production, Hatch said.

Nationally known river guide John Ruskey will speak and offer a canoe trip on the first day of the workshop. The river guide and outfitter from Clarksdale, Miss., will lead two 10-person canoes on a two-hour paddle. The fee is $25.

Keynote speaker for the first day will be Daryl Jones, director of Mississippi State University’s Natural Resource Enterprises Program. Jones will present statistics about enterprise development and trends that are making outdoor recreation popular.

LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator Dora Ann Hatch will discuss marketing enterprises, and LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist Don Reed will talk about managing private lands for fee or lease hunting.

Optional activities at the end of the first day will include a photography session and a bird-watching session offered by the Friends of the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The second day will give participants an opportunity to learn about successful tourism programs in paddling, becoming an outfitter and legal liabilities associated with navigating waterways. Keynote speaker for day two will be Tom Potter, executive director of North Carolina Paddle Trails, who will provide information on the economic and social impacts of paddling. A panel of speakers will talk about how they got involved in paddling and offering their services to others.

After the panel, Stuart Johnson, assistant secretary in the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Office of State Parks; Keith Casio with the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers Program in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Bob Strader, Gay Brantley and Jean Mikeal with National Wildlife Refuges in Mississippi and in Monroe and Tallulah, La., will talk about state and national opportunities for nature-based tourism in their respective areas.

Registration for this event is available online at www.LSUAgCenter.com/onlinestore and at www.lsuagcenter.com/agritourism . The fee is $50 for single days or $75 for both days.

For more information, contact Dora Ann Hatch at 318-927-9654, ext. 229, or at dhatch@agcenter.lsu.edu or John Hanks at 318-343-4044 or jhanks@wlf.la.gov .