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Tahoe and geotourism



TRUCKEE, Calif. - A push continues in the Lake Tahoe area to foster what is called geotourism, which is defined as an effort to identify and promote those things that make a region different from other areas.

"In general, what we're looking to highlight are places that have a quality unique to the area," said Jonathan Tourtellot, founding director of the National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destination.

"We have to make a lot of judgment calls," he told the Sierra Sun .

Whether geotourism is anything new, or more of a refined marketing tool, is open to argument. The Sierra Sun seems to think it is a new kind of tourism. As examples of geotourism attractions, it cites a museum, locally owned restaurants with character, and a natural foods store with a local flavor as examples.

The newspaper cites a study by the travel industry of America, which says geotourists value clean, unpolluted environments, outstanding scenery, and opportunities to learn about the culture and history of areas they visit.

"They patronize businesses that emphasize the local character," explained Nichole Dejonghe, project manager of something called the Sierra Nevada Geotourism. The organization has a Sierra Nevada map guide with 1,500 contributors, including dozens of attractions in the Lake Tahoe area.


Bottled water replaced

VAIL, Colo. - For sheer silliness and wanton environmental waste, perhaps nothing comes close to bottled water. Repeated tests have shown that water bottled hundreds or thousands of miles away is rarely, if ever, better than the local stuff that comes out of the tap. Plus, it's expensive - usually more expensive than petroleum shipped from Venezuela, Libya or refined from the tar sands north of Edmonton.

In Vail, which sits at the headwaters, its waters as pure as the driven snow, that's doubly the case. It's good water, then further purified by the local water agency.

Yet, for years, bottled water was given out at the Teva Games, the big festival of kayaking, climbing and other outdoor pursuits held at Vail and nearby Minturn. An undercurrent of the festival is celebration of the environment.

This year, at long last, organizers have announced sanity. Instead of bottled water, they will have three "hydration stations" that use reverse osmosis cleaning technology to further clean what is already excellent water. Festival-goers will also be given biodegradable cups made from corn, reports the Vail Daily .


Plastic bags taxed

CARBONDALE, Colo. - Trustees for a third town in the Roaring Fork Valley have indicated they might be willing to impose a tax on throw-away plastic shopping bags as a way to discourage their use.