Ecotourism Discussed In Pascagoula

The Wild Wing River and Nature Festival is in full swing. On Tuesday, dozens of people gathered in Pascagoula to discuss the impact and benefits of ecotourism in South Mississippi, and they were offered a first hand look at the natural wonders along the Pascagoula River.

Katrina undoubtedly dealt a blow to the tourism industry in South Mississippi, but she couldn't take away the regenerating force of Mother Nature. That was apparent on a tour of the Pascagoula River, hosted by the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

"It's about targeting traveling public, and ecotourists, and engaging local families who will participate in ecotourism, not only in what they do themselves, but them supporting the economy that ecotourism brings," said Mark LaSalle, opf the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Before the tour, dozens of people gathered to discuss ecotourism in South Mississippi.

"Ecotourism since the storm, has been sort of on the back burner. A lot of people are starting to turn their attention toward the rebuilding and how we can build this ecotourism business to help with the sustained rebuilding here on the coast," La Salle said.

Boat tours and other nature tours continue to lure visitors and economic benefits to South Mississippi.

"Ecotourism, if we look for a primary reason for someone coming, it would be because they want to see Sandhill Cranes at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge, or they want to visit the Pascagoula River Audobon Center, or they want to go on a marsh tour, but they might also be interested because of their education or interest. They're going to go to museums, they're going to visit other cultural areas," said said Cynthia Ramseur, coordinator of Wild Wing River and Nature Festival.