Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours L3C offers a unique take on the traditional swamp tour. Winding through the wetlands, this tour showcases the beauty of the area’s natural ecosystems. While experiencing a different side of Louisiana via kayak, motorboat and even on foot, visitors gain a deeper understanding of local environmental concerns.
Marie Gould and her husband, longtime lovers of the outdoors, have taken people on boats and kayaks into the Louisiana wetlands for many years. These trips served as a way to introduce many people to the beauty of the area, as well as educate them about Louisiana’s serious environmental issues.
The impetus to turn these trips into a business came from Gould’s business partner, Lindsay Pick, who got behind the idea and made it a reality. A natural offshoot of their love of nature, Lost Lands allows Gould and Pick to share their appreciation of quiet, small group experiences in the natural environment. In addition, they welcome the opportunity to share their concern about the forces that are destroying Louisiana’s valuable wetlands.
“We find it difficult to combine our altruistic goals and our desire to give people a personal experience with the ecosystem by taking them out in small groups with making a living,” says Gould. “Swamp tours are very profitable when you take out large groups for short periods of time, many times a day. A personal experience like we provide has a very small profit margin. Balancing altruism with profitability is a challenge and probably a problem for many social entrepreneurs.”
Despite these difficulties, Gould finds many rewards in her work with Lost Lands. “It is incredibly rewarding to see people fall in love with the nature of South Louisiana and watch the lights go on as they develop an understanding of the importance of our ecosystem and the tragedy that is unfolding as our land is washed away,” she says. “It is one thing to be told of the importance of a cypress tupelo swamp for hurricane protection, for example, and quite another thing to actually look at a forest of the mighty trees and realize just how protective they can be in high winds and storm surge.”
Lost Lands welcomes volunteers and appreciates word-of-mouth publicity for their kayak tours; learn more at their website: LostLandsTours.org.