Environment, Space, Place

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Roger Paden
Pages 139-167

Historical Paradigms for Ecotourism

Ecotourism has been defined in a number of possibly incompatible ways, such as travel to especially wonderful natural sites, as a form of educational travel, and as sustainable tourism. These various understandings of ecotourism can be used to ground a number of different kinds of natural area policies. In particular they can ground a number of policies concerning the management of the many National Parks in the United States. In this paper, in order to assess these policies, I distinguish several different understandings of “ecotourism” and discuss the kinds of park management programs that might be based on them. In the course of this discussion, I examine the history of tourism in Europe in order to develop other notions of ecotourism, including two based on the idea of pilgrimage. To clarify this last idea of ecotourism, I examine religious pilgrimage and several ideas of nature taken from the Romantic Movement in Europe and the Transcendentalist movement in the United States, as seen in the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, and Ansel Adams.