Ecotourism is an important part of the state’s economic strategy. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development cites a clean environment, recreational trails and wildlife-associated recreational opportunities, as key quality of life advantages that Nebraska has to offer. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project notes that several of the state’s top tourist attractions are outdoors in nature and provide conservation, education and recreation opportunities. The 2006 study “Natural-Resource Amenities and Nebraska’s Economy: Current Connections, Challenges, and Possibilities” recommends building the economic base of the region through environmentally focused tourism.
(Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism Commission and visitnebraska.com)
the Nebraska Innovation Zone Commission established by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development the Lincoln-Omaha metropolitan region recommended that the region should “present a network of communities and attractions,” and that while regions in Nebraska have a tradition of cooperative tourism marketing, it should be taken a step further. In 2012, the governors of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado got together to discuss common efforts and issues related to ecotourism and economic development. Clearly, momentum for eco-tourism in the state is building and Lincoln is a leader in pursuing these opportunities.
The Prairie Corridor presents…
a tremendous economic opportunity as a unique attraction for Lincoln, Lancaster County and the Lincoln-Omaha metropolitan region. Lincoln and Omaha can build on one other’s strengths to foster community sustainability and economic development initiatives as envisioned by the development of the NIZC. While Omaha can offer the Henry Doorly and the Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari, Lincoln will offer an extraordinary tallgrass prairie experience that can be easily accessed from Interstate 80 and the City of Lincoln to connect people with their natural heritage, waves of grass and wildflowers, wildlife and unbroken vistas.
The Prairie Corridor will…
support economic development efforts by celebrating the natural heritage of the “Prairie Capital” with an extraordinary tallgrass prairie experience and 20-mile roundtrip trail ride that will encourage visitors to stay another day in Lincoln and bring them through rural towns like the Village of Denton. The Corridor will connect the already popular Pioneers Park Nature Center and Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center highlighted as destinations today by the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. Today, Pioneers Park has over 400,000 visitors annually, and Spring Creek Prairie receives at least 10,000 visitors annually. Over time, the Prairie Corridor can grow to become the largest tallgrass prairie accessible from the I-80 corridor, thus providing even greater economic opportunity for the Lincoln-Omaha metropolitan region and a spectacular eco-tourism destination.