Participatory modeling as a tool for community development planning: tourism in the Northern Forest
The rural economic landscape is changing throughout the United States as the loss of many manufacturing plants and the growth of industrial agriculture have severely limited small communities’ options for economic development. Tourism has become an alternative source of growth and its related entrepreneurship opportunities are being recognized (Sinclair, 1998; Webster & Chappelle, 2001; Wilson, Fesenmaier, Fesenmaier & van Es, 2001). In the Northern Forest, a 26 million acre bioregion extending across northern New York and New England, eﬀorts to promote recreation and tourism have received renewed attention in recent years. The inclusion of tourism and recreation in the economic mix is not new in the region; eﬀorts to promote tourism date back well over 100 years. During that time period, tourism has been viewed as a mixed blessing and recreation and tourism development have led to mixed results (Albers, 2000). This remains the case today in the Northern Forest.