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WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on place-based stewardship education. Since 2001, a partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department (KNRD) has supported this newsletter and allowed us to expand class offerings through EPA funding. Further staff support comes through Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA). Many thanks to our partners and to you, our readers, for your continued enthusiasm for "digging" into the natural history and culture of this part of the world.

What is a Birding Trail?

by Christi Norman, Birding Trail Director, Audubon Washington 

What a birding trail is NOT: a trail for birds.
What a birding trails IS: a route for people who want to see birds.

Birding trails are most often driving trips with stops at special places where birds are most likely to be seen. Each stop describes the habitat, what birds are there in what season, where to look, and how to get from a main road to the location. Some trails include water routes where you can paddle your canoe or kayak to see birds; other trails include biking or walking routes.

With more than 40 million people in America describing themselves as interested in bird watching, birding trails have become big business. The trails attract nature tourists to rural locations, which spurs sustainable economic development and gives local residents increased incentive to safeguard the
natural areas around their communities and region. America’s bird watchers spend $30 billion a year on their hobby, including $10 billion on travel. Research shows that every 100 new bird watchers create a new full-time job, generate $2,500 in revenue and return $2,600 in taxes.

More than thirty states now have birding trails. Audubon Washington and the Spokane Audubon Society are working with local birders to expand the Great Washington State Birding Trail in 2009 by adding a map covering Northeast Washington to the current completed routes. Maps are available on-line or can be ordered at http://wa.audubon.org/birds_GreatWABirdingTrail.html

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Communities Strategies Grant Program at Inland Northwest Community Foundation and by Washington State Department of Transportation.

Editor's note: In 2006, and with Sense of Place support, Pend Oreille County birders met and compiled a list of local birding sites in preparation for this statewide project. These are available on-line at http://www.porta-us.com/birding.html
At the same time, we started a listserve, POBirds, to communicate about birds and birding in Pend Oreille County. Interested in joining us?--just email cmack@wsu.edu and ask to be added to the list.

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