Forks, WA: Russians tourism people visit West End - Russian Far East Social Partnership for Ecotourism Project partners with Vermont-based Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Forks Forum

Forks, WA - 3/24/03 - Following a visit to Neah Bay and the Makah Tribe on March 18, six Russian visitors came to Forks and stayed at the Miller Tree Inn.

On Wednesday, they were visited a logging mill and lunched at the Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting. That afternoon, they went to LaPush where they enjoyed a Quillayute Estuary kayaking tour with Gary Peterson, visited with the Quileute Tribe and had dinner at the A-Ka-Lat Center where they were entertained by the Quileute dancers and drummers. They stayed at Ocean Park Resort that night before leaving for the Quinault Reservation Thursday morning.

Their trip began and ended in Seattle.

The visit was arranged by the Russian Far East Social Partnership for Ecotourism Project which is a partnership between the Vermont-based Institute for Sustainable Communities and its counterpart organization the Far Eastern Center for Tourism Development, based in Khabarovsk, Russia.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate new methods and practices for tourism development in the Russian Far East that better involve local citizens in decision making so that new tourism development is a conscious process that can benefit local economic development needs while conserving and protecting natural resources.

The U.S. Study Tour that visited the West End on March 18-20, provided an opportunity for six representatives from the project to obtain first-hand information about relevant eco and ethno tourism approaches as practiced in the United States. The information gained during the study tour will directly assist the group in developing new opportunities in Lazo and Nogliki.

The six visiting Russians were:

Liudmila Bliznyukova is currently the director of the Far Eastern Center for Tourism Development in Khabarovsk, Russia. The Center strives to promote tourism development in Khabarovsk specifically and the Russian Far East generally. For regional tourism providers such as tour companies and hotels, the Center offers a wide range of activities including training and seminars on various aspects of the tourism business. The Center also offers educational courses to prepare guides, marketing research & development seminars, and consultation on various legal, financial and managerial tourism issues.

Eduard Krouglov is a leader of the Khabarovk Regional Fund for Biological Diversity Preservation and Wild Animal Rehabilitation, Utyes (Cliff). Their Wildlife Rehabilitation Center was founded in 1996 by Eduard Krouglovís father, Vladimir. Utyes focuses on the rehabilitation of wild animals, preservation and restoration of eco-systems through reforestation & fire prevention, and environmental education, including environmental summer camps for children and seminars for environmentalists. Utyes is involved in ecotourism through the construction of an ecolodge to host visitors to the center, trail development, sport fishing, rafting & climbing. The Center is located in the village of Kutusovka (Lazo, Khabarovsk Krai) in the center of Ussuri taiga.

Evgueni Mitrofankine is the director of a tribal company called Gevva, based in Nogliki on Sakhalin island. Gevva works to promote eco- and ethno-tourism generally, and has developed an ethnographic tour in the region. The company has worked hard to engage the Nivkhi and Orochi people of the Russian Far East into tourism activities as economic opportunities. Gevva has also developed ecotourism activities in the fields of rafting and sport-fishing among others.

Viktoriya Khan is head of the Department of Tourism Infrastructure Development for the regional government of Kharbarovsk. She is also an active member of the Ecotourism Project Advisory Committee. Khan has championed the development of a local history center in the Lazo District through targeted governmental financial assistance.

Olga Rozhnova heads the Nogliki National and Cultural NGO, Chamgun. The organization works with local tribal members to collect traditions, legends, and national crafts for preservation and promotion. It also has helped representatives of the Nivkhi youth to develop and promote a tribal ensemble called Playuf. Chamgun has also organized a national culture corner for local libraries. The organization is an active participant of tourism and cultural initiatives in the region.

Anna Lygina is ISCís program manager for the Social Partnership for Ecotourism Project, based out of Khabarovsk. She has more than ten years experience working on international technical assistance programs. Lygina has extensive experience working with stakeholder groups, leading trainings and conferences, and facilitating working meetings. Lygina is a Russian native and speaks English fluently.


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