Animal Conservation

Why you should book a trip with a conservation group

Look beyond traditional travel agencies to book your next outdoor adventure.

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FFor many American travelers, 2021 was the year of the national park. As the pandemic continues to disrupt international travel, it has also sparked wider interest among Americans in exploring the great outdoors in their own country.

Maybe you’ve been to Glacier or the Great Smokies this year only to find yourself struggling to maintain social distancing. Avoiding selfie sticks at scenic points is not the kind of problem John Muir has ever faced. (He became the first chef of the Sierra Club in 1892.) Or maybe you were excluded. To improve your odds in 2022, you might consider a travel agency, such as Backroads, REI, Smithsonian, or National Geographic. But you might find that the trips with these well-known and highly regarded companies are already sold out. Instead, pivot to organizations that you can’t relate to travel. A variety of conservation groups nationwide offer many options for outdoor excursions.

Get off the beaten track with such outfitters could be your solution to seeing national parks, wildlife and other natural wonders in 2022. The following conservation groups offer a range of travel options, from luxury to camping, international and national, for all skill levels. experience.

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Association Oceanic Society has been dedicated to ocean conservation for over half a century. Its “blue habits” program is taking action to tackle problems such as plastic waste in the oceans. His travel list for 2022 includes snorkeling in Belize, Baja (whale sharks!) Komodo Island (dragons!), Indonesia, Bahamas and Palau. The The 12-day trip to Komodo, one of many that involves living aboard a ship, is limited to a dozen passengers. Family trips include wildlife from Costa Rica and the Galapagos. More wildlife is in the spotlight on his Kenya Safari, which includes time on the coast for whale watching and snorkeling.

If international travel isn’t on your radar yet, the Oceanic Society is also offering a day of whale watching from its home base, San Francisco, April through November to the remote Farallon Islands. With a helpful naturalist on board, this is a boat trip that will appeal to bird watchers as well. (The islands’ 250,000 pelagic birds include cormorants, starfish, and even a few tufted puffins.)

The Appalachian Club, founded in 1876, has decades of experience providing adventure travel in the United States and internationally. In spring 2022, his international trips include a Spain-Morocco tour, as well as treks in Sardinia, the Rhine Valley in Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg (with two trips to the Azores already full). Summer 2022 trips to North America include exploring Alaska and hiking in Glacier and Olympic National Parks and the Canadian Rockies. Across New England, AMC offers a variety of lodges, cabins and campgrounds for the use of backpackers. While most trips focus on hiking, the San Juan Islands tour is geared towards cyclists.

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The Sierra Club offers nearly 200 trips, including more than 20 hiking adventures in Europe from April to September, as well as 18 trips to Latin America throughout 2022. Many of these international outings are already booked. With nearly 100 trips to the United States, attractive options include birding in Puerto Rico or rafting and hiking in Canyonlands National Park. Sierra Club outings for specific groups include those for grandparents and children, people over 50 and families, as well as some service or volunteer offerings. In 2022, service trips include trail restoration in northern Idaho, garden and park work in New York City, and conservation on the Hawaiian Islands.

Isolated Isle Royale National Park reopens after its annual winter closure in mid-April.

For more than a century, the association Association for the Conservation of National Parks advocated for the protection of US national parks. Recent and upcoming offerings include Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior; a week-long exploration of the civil rights movement starting in Birmingham, Alabama, continuing to Jackson, Mississippi, and ending in Memphis; and travel the back roads of Big Bend National Park in West Texas. It also offers small boat cruises to Alaska and California’s Channel Islands National Park.

The World Wildlife Fund (in conjunction with Natural Habitat Adventures) offers dozens of US and international trips. These “conservation by exploration” trips include a week of exploring the coast of Maine (including Acadia National Park), Alaska, Yosemite, and the Southwest Canyons ( Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon), all with multiple offerings from each trip, giving you more options. Most of WWF’s trips are overseas, including Tanzania, India (tigers or snow leopards), Patagonia, Madagascar, Costa Rica and Borneo. Also available: nearly twenty cruises from the Arctic to the Antarctic and to intermediate points (Mexico, Tahiti, Easter Island).

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These are not volunteer trips (although several of these organizations offer them). Many are only available once a year and almost all are limited to small groups, so planning ahead is essential. For example, Nature Conservancy’s Legacy and Conservation trips for 2022 are already full, although they have waiting lists.

If your schedule and these trips don’t match, you can always help organizations through donations and memberships. “Adopting” an animal is a fun way to get your kids interested in a good cause. And if you travel with them, in addition to having access to memorable places, you will also help support worthy conservation groups with your trip – a win-win situation.

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