EcoTourism Web Tour

McGrath, Alaska Sustainable Economic Development

Focus Group




PROS                                                               CONS

Tourism can…                                                   Tourism can…

• Create new jobs and boost local                        • Create seasonal jobs

businesses                                                        • Increase maintenance costs and

• Increase investment in                          demand on public services

public facilities                                                   • Conflict with subsistence activity

• Diversify and bring new money              and lifestyle

into the economy                                               • Lead to lifestyle changes

• Preserve heritage/culture                                  • Create recreation and resource user

• Foster conservation of natural                           conflicts

resources                                                          • Result in higher taxes and fees

• Contribute to the local tax base                         • Increase potential for crowding,

• Increase community pride                                 congestion and crime


American Indian Alaskan Native Tourism Association



Tourism Planning Process Examples

Kodiak Tourism Study
Kodiak Island Borough residents and businesses identified their community tourism strengths, weaknesses and priorities at recent public meetings.

Juneau Tourism Management Plan
The City and Borough of Juneau, in April of 2001, embarked on a yearlong process to develop a comprehensive plan to manage tourism in Juneau.

City & Borough of Juneau and Juneau Tour Operators Best Management Practices 2001
This program is a cooperative effort among tour operators and the City and Borough of Juneau. Best Mangement practices are intended to minimize the impacts of tourism in a manner which addresses both residents’ and industry concerns.

Developing Local Government Tourism Industry
Washington State Municipal Research & Services Center

Tok APLIC Information
In 2002, planning is underway for the development of a new Alaska Public Lands Information Center (APLIC) in Tok that includes a visitor center for the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

21st Century Communities Tourism Assessment, State of Utah Department of Community and Economic Development
Governor Leavitt and the Governor's Rural Partnership Office extend an invitation and a challenge to rural cities, towns, counties, and Indian tribes to engage in the planning and development processes that will lead to designation as a 21st Century Community.

Community Stewardship Exchange, Sonoran Institute
The Community Stewardship Exchange includes information, contacts and examples of community based strategies that preserve the ecological integrity of important natural systems while meeting the economic aspirations of adjoining communities.

Rural Tourism Marketing Handbook
Created by Western Tourism Development Associates for California Tourism, this book is intended to help you get started promoting your community to tourists through an easy-to-follow primer on tourism marketing. This publication is available online in the Business Section of California Tourism's web site. http://www.visitcalifornia.

Linking Conservation and Tourism
A joint program of the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, the Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association, and the WWF Arctic Programme.



Guiding Alaska Tourism

The Guiding Alaska Tourism (GAT) initiative promotes sustainable tourism that is environmentally, economically, and socially sound. GAT achieves this by providing tools, technical assistance and information to assist Alaskans in guiding tourism growth.

EcoTourism Guidelines: AWRTA, in efforts to continually encourage responsible travel, adopted eight (8) Ecotourism Guidelines to promote to member businesses, individual recreationists and visitors.  These Guidelines help identify specific ways nature-based tourism businesses can link to providing environmentally sustainable benefits to their customers, community residents and Alaska's natural resources.


Alaska Institute for Sustainable Recreation & Tourism

The Alaska Institute for Sustainable Recreation & Tourism (AISRT) is the 501(c)3 research and education affiliate organization associated with AWRTA. AISRT is the research, information and education arm of AWRTA. One overriding theme for AISRT has been recognizing and researching the economic value of our wildlands and wildlife as a tool to use in affecting state and federal land management and planning decisions. The Guiding Alaska Tourism Initiative (GAT) is an AISRT managed project.

A collective voice for Wilderness-dependent businesses

Impacts of EcoTourism: Alaska Native Perspective                                                                 When the spring came, the snow melted, the whales came north and the geese flew over our lands.  We knew there would come a scientist or two to dig around and ask us questions.  They would stay about as long as the geese did.  The only difference was, we hated to see the geese leave.

In the Native community, we sort of feel the same way about eco-tourism.  We walk that fine line of navigating between the ideals of development (which would lead one to advocate rural tourism), and the ideals of cultural tradition and integrity (which might lead one to reject rural tourism).  We share this ambivalence, but recognize that these two conflicting ideals are connected with the ongoing dynamics of cultures and communities with moral, political, economic and ecological forces historically at work.  We might call these dynamics a cultural process, but one which requires sensitivity and discussion in order to develop sustainable tourism in rural Alaska only where it is truly desired within the community.


State of AK – Economic Development Resource Guide

The 142 page Alaska Economic Development Resource Guide is designed to bring together in one place an inventory of programs and services which can provide economic development assistance to Alaska communities and businesses.

Federal and State agencies as well as national and Alaska private nonprofit agencies are represented. This directory primarily describes those programs which focus on the creation and support of new industries, businesses and long-term jobs. It is designed to help communities match their economic development strategy with existing program resources which could support that strategy.


State of AK – DCED Community and Business Development

Mission: Promote strong communities and healthy economies by providing information, technical and financial assistance and other capacity building resources.

This website offers an extensive resource for Community Development, Funding Resources and Business Development in Alaska.


State of AK –DCED Tourism Development

Mission Statement/Goals
The Alaska Office of Tourism endeavors to stimulate sustainable, diversified economic growth and job opportunities in Alaska through tourism development, while strengthening cultural values and maintaining quality of life for Alaskans.

The mission is accomplished by providing training, research, and information, as well as planning, business development and product development assistance to communities, businesses, agencies and residents.

Program Goals
Encourage community-led decision-making about tourism development. Promote tourism planning that will help disperse economic benefits of tourism throughout the state and the calendar year, as well as retain significant benefits in the communities where visitation occurs. Maintain and improve overall visitor satisfaction by encouraging infrastructure development and protection of the environment and quality of life. Assist communities in increasing resident satisfaction with the visitor industry, by increasing the positive impacts and minimizing the negative impacts of tourism to residents and communities.


Alaska Community Tourism Handbook

Alaska Community Tourism Handbook ~ How to Develop Tourism in Your Community

The Alaska Division of Community and Business Development created this 40 page handbook to help groups and individuals develop tourism in their communities. This handbook is designed to help you decide whether tourism could work in your community, and if so, how to participate in the tourism industry. It explains, in very basic terms, what tourism is all about. Use this as a tool to gather information to see if your community is ready to be a part of the tourism industry.

This handbook also lists agencies and organizations to contact for technical assistance

and more information. Finally, a sample community inventory is included for your reference.

This book is merely a guide to help communities that want to be successful in introducing tourism to their areas. It can be used by communities of all sizes; however, it is written specifically for Alaska’s smaller, more remote rural communities.


Tourism Funding Handbook ~ Alaska Division of Community and

Business Development

Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank (CFAB)

Alaska Grown Program

Alaska Growth Capital

Alaska Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association

Alaska InvestNet

Alaska Minority Business Development Center

Alaska Regional Development Organizations (ARDORs)

Alaska Rural Development Council

Alaska Scenic Byways Program

Alaska State Office of Tourism

Business and Export Loan Guarantee Program

Business and Industry Loans

First Alaskans Foundation

First Nations Development Institute

Historic Preservation Grants-In-Aid

Indian Arts and Crafts Development

Intermediary Relending Program

Loan Assumption Programs

Loan Participation Program

Mini-Grants Assistance Program

Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants

Private Lands Wildlife Management

Recreational Trails Grant Program

Resource Conservation and Development


evolving Loan Fund, AVCP

Rural Business Enterprise Grants

Rural Development Initiative Fund

Rural Economic Development Loan Program

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

Business Procurement Assistance, 8(a) Program

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Small Business Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund

Southeast Alaska Revolving Loan Fund

Village Wildlife Conservation Cooperative


Principles & Guidelines for the Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous People                                                               Principles & Guidelines elaborated by the Special Rapporteur, Mrs. Erica-Irene Daes, in conformity with resolution 1993/44 and decision 1994/105 of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council, United Nations.


Alaskan EcoTourism Success Stories

TOPKO Tours Alaska ~ Eco-Tourism Custom Village and Wilderness Adventures  ~Nikolai, Alaska                                                                               

If you are interested in touring some of the last wilderness on earth and experiencing the village life of the people that live here, we offer a reasonably priced Bush Alaska tour. Visit a Fish Camp, Fish Wheel, Goldmine and Much More. Among the many things to see and do in the area are: Wildlife Viewing, Snowmachining, Photography and Birding, Flightseeing, Fishing, Trekking, Hiking varied terrains, Lake, River and Creek Canoeing, River Boating and Rafting.

Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures   ~ Bethel, Alaska                      

A family owned company that is dedicated to sharing the rich country and culture of Southwest Alaska specializing in wilderness trips, including:

Pa Pa Bear Adventures  ~Bethel, Alaska                     

PaPa Bear Adventures offers a unique combination of services for you, the Outdoor Enthusiast. We provide transportation and outfitting to some of the most spectacular remote wilderness sites in Alaska. While others may be able to offer such services, what separates us from the rest is the fact that we live and operate year round in the same remote wilderness that we service! Our closeness to the area gives us a unique ability to give you the best adventure possible!


Alaska Iditarod Tours ~Rich Montagna -  McGrath, Alaska                              

Wilderness adventure tours, photo tours and workshops, snowmobile tours through remote roadless areas; our tours are designed to let our clients experience the real Alaska, an area and state of mind far removed from the day to day trappings of modern life.

Whether it is experiencing the world famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race, following caribou migrating through the spectacular Brooks Range, photographing Fall colors in the shadow of Mt. Mckinley, snowmobiling or running a dog team through the Alaskan wilderness, we make sure you have an experience that you will be talking about for years to come.


Ganes Creek Gold

The opportunity of a lifetime! Your chance to metal detect for large gold nuggets on one of Alaska's premier large nugget producing creeks - Ganes Creek, Alaska. The largest nugget found at Ganes Creek weighed 122 ounces - over ten troy pounds!

Clark/Wiltz Mining is making their ground available to the general public for the first time. Ganes Creek has produced over 250,000 ounces of gold... and much of the gold has been some of the largest nuggets ever found in Alaska. Thousands of acres of tailing piles contain nuggets lost by bucketline dredges and inefficient bulldozer operations of the past. Nuggets have been found here by simply walking along and picking them up. The chances of finding very large nuggets on Ganes Creek with a metal detector are some of the best in Alaska. Roads and trails run the length of the operations, making access a breeze.

The first summer of 2002 has been a resounding success. Visitors found large numbers of nuggets weighing over an ounce, with the largest nugget found weighing 6.85 ounces. Many of the nuggets found are shown at the Alaska's Largest Gold Nuggets page.

Ganes Creek is 45 miles west of McGrath, which is 221 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

Video Explorers ~Ganes Creek Mine Trip 2003

Adventure · Research · Production "Dedicated to preserving culture, history, and tradition."

Adventures On-Sale On-Line

The Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association

The Alaska Recreation & Tourism Association`s (AWRTA) site for visitors planning trips to Alaska. Lists discounted trips, trip planning information and over 200 member company services offering a wide range of wilderness and nature-based activities.

This site promotes discounted Alaska wilderness and Ecotourism travel. It includes trip planning information, descriptions of Alaska's wilderness regions, and listings of wilderness-dependent businesses.


Anaktuvuk Pass Day Trip                       

Example of something that is working: A one day round-trip journey by air to the Nunamiut Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk Pass.
Journey Features: