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Sierra Club Conservation Policies


Governmental agencies, planners, and environmental groups promoting or supporting tourism should adhere to the following principles for planning and management.

  1. Plans must respect the right and needs of indigenous human populations.
  2. Plans must respect the carrying capacity and biodiversity of the environment.
  3. Development of ecotourism should be integrated with broader land-use planning to avoid destruction of ecosystems.
  4. Specific fragile areas, such as ecosystems containing rare and unique species, should be set aside for complete protection.
  5. Infrastructure and other development within natural preserves and surrounding areas should be limited to basic maintenance needs and support services.
  6. Respect must be given to wildlife migration routes and to the maintenance and restoration of interconnected ecosystem structure and function.
  7. Visitor plans should be designed and implemented to include use of equitable rationing or quota systems for access to those sensitive areas where visitor access would not be a conflict.
  8. Proper waste management, energy conservation, and environmental restoration should be a part of all planning.
  9. All waste should be stored on-board ships and other watercraft for proper disposal in ports. Ships should have the capability to store all wastes on-board for the duration of the trip.
  10. Helicopters are inappropriate vehicles for many sensitive areas such as endangered species' recovery areas, certain national parks, etc., and should be eliminated or strictly controlled as to height limits.
  11. Encourage and support local, national, and international conservation efforts through appropriate actions and donations.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, September 18-19, 1993

Conduct on Sierra Club Trips -- Emerald Guidelines

  1. The group size should be proportional to the carrying capacity of the site. Smaller groups will have less impact on habitats, life and local cultures. Your group is only one of many.
  2. Each group should be led by well-trained guides who have a strong conservation ethic.
  3. Keep the group's environmental impact low by using appropriate fuel sources, and by properly disposing of human waste, packing and garbage. Pack out what you pack in.
  4. When traveling in rural areas, follow designated trails and roads.
  5. Avoid sensitive areas such as breeding sites, rookeries, small-scale fragile environments, and cultural areas such as sacred places. Avoid disturbing natural habitats of animals.
  6. Learn about the local environment and conservation issues, including the status of endangered species and habitats. Avoid buying products which exploit these species and habitats.
  7. Encourage and support local, national and international conservation efforts through appropriate actions and donations.
  8. Be well informed about customs, values, manners and language. Be sensitive to local and individual feelings about photography.
  9. Travel in the spirit of humility in respecting the local hierarchy and the privacy and dignity of local residents. Do not expect special privileges.
  10. Encourage a spirit of goodwill by considering your promises to local people before commitment. Keep your promises!
  11. Train and hire local people to develop and encourage local support for the preservation of nature, cultural traditions, and historical sites.
  12. Without inflating the local economy, encourage and utilize local enterprises such as food services, guides, lodging and transportation that follow environmentally sound practices and serve environmentally concerned groups. Suggest and support improved environmentally sound practices with sensitivity to local conditions.
  13. Take home memories, photographs when appropriate, and leave only good will.

Adopted by the Outdoor Activities Committee, November 4, 1992.

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