Agriculture and Nature Tourism
Farmers and ranchers, reacting to increasing population and economic pressures, have begun to seek other opportunities to enhance income from their agricultural lifestyles. Increased tourism in the North Coast has encouraged local farmers and ranchers to consider tourist-friendly elements in their own landholdings. Agricultural tourism enterprises are varied, encompassing farm tours, farm stands, u-pick farms, bird watching, hunting clubs, trail rides, weddings, reunions and special gatherings, and other activities that flow from the rural landscape.
Some even offer tourists the opportunity to live the lifestyle of farmers and ranchers with old-fashioned cattle brandings and participation in farm or ranch daily activities. Nature tourism utilizes the landscape to enhance a visitor's enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of natural areas while conserving the local ecological, social, and cultural values.
The NCRCDC has partnered with the University of California Cooperative Extension to develop and host workshops on agricultural and nature tourism opportunities in the North Coast, including one held in Lake County where sixty(60) participants from Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties attended the Harvesting the Assets of your Farm or Ranch Workshop at Ceago del Lago. A former Council Member of the NCRCDC, Ellie Rilla, helped organize that workshop and also developed capacity at the Council to assist farmers, ranchers and rural landowners in considering tourism potential. Ms. Rilla is the author of Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California. Her book is available for purchase through the cooperative extension, Item No. 3484 anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu.