August 20, 2004: Headlines: COS - Belize: Tourism: Ocean City Today: Belize RPCV Marc Koenings returns to Delmarva as president of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Belize: Peace Corps Belize : The Peace Corps in Belize: August 20, 2004: Headlines: COS - Belize: Tourism: Ocean City Today: Belize RPCV Marc Koenings returns to Delmarva as president of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences

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Belize RPCV Marc Koenings returns to Delmarva as president of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences

Belize RPCV Marc Koenings returns to Delmarva as president of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences

Belize RPCV Marc Koenings returns to Delmarva as president of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences

Koenings returns to Delmarva as DLITE’s new president
Lora O'Neil
Staff Writer

(Aug. 20, 2004) Marc Koenings brings a vast and colorful background to his new position as president of the Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE).

For the past 15 years he has been in the business of supporting sustainable environments.

"In the Virgin Islands I worked on global climate issues and ways to conserve energy and greening the park," Koenings said.

After finishing grad school in Michigan, he worked with the Peace Corps in Belize. Then he came back to the states, to Washington, D.C., and worked for the Department of the Interior.

Being back on the East Coast was too much of a culture shock from Belize, so he decided to see what the West Coast had to offer.

He worked in Albuquerque, N.M., on natural heritage, then to Point Rays National Seashore in California. He was the deputy superintendent of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, then the superintendent in the Virgin Islands, then to Assateague National Seashore and next to New York, as the commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor.

He has worked on 15 foreign assignments on conservation projects.

In 1998, Koenings helped start DLITE with Buddy Jenkins. And Dave Wilson, the current director, has kept it alive.

"There is an economic value of protecting the resources," Wilson said.

"We are trying to preserve the heritage here," Koenings added.

His dream is to find ways to connect the waterways and bike trails so a person could bike to Assateague and kayak across the bay to a public landing and then back north.

When he was superintendent of Assateague, Koenings’ mission was to pass resources on to future generations in as good as or better shape than they got it. Sinepuxent and Assawoman bays were not in his control at the park, so he decided to start working with Jenkins and Wilson to make sure the bays would also be in good shape when they were passed on.

Most people that live here and come here don’t know what the area has to offer, Koenings said.

"I lived in Ocean Pines and had neighbors that never even knew about Assateague," Koenings said, "We need to educate people on the opportunities here."

One of DLITE’s missions is to promote nature trails and educate the public about them and convince political leaders that it’s also good for their bottom line, Wilson said.

"This is a unique area in America," Koenings said, "We want to be catalysts to make the trails feasible and economical."

The draw to this area is its authenticity, Wilson said, "Why would you spend a week in Salisbury?"

One aspect of Koenings’ job is finding and funding trails and building programs with public and private support. While in the Amazon and Brazil, he worked to preserve land and purchase easements. In Delmarva, he has worked tremendously on expanding the birding program.

The birding weekend filled 445 trips this year. "We turned away 300 people," Wilson said. "People came from Philadelphia, D.C., Idaho, Maine and New Mexico."

Besides birding weekend, Delmarva biking trails and kayak trails, DLITE is working on a Cape to Cape Birding trail from Cape May, N.J., to Cape Charles, Va., and African American Heritage markers with six stops in Worcester County.

The "Great Delmarva Bicycling Trail Guide" is the current project DLITE is waiting to get published. The National Park Service, the nature conservancy and local tourism agencies donated money for the bike trail guide, which costs $50,000 to be printed.

The bicycle trails cover 2,000 miles and three north and south routes run through every county from the C&D canal to Cape Charles. The maps will be sold for $5 and Koenings expects to have them published by Coast Day, Sept. 18.

DLITE’s greatest challenge is getting word of the Delmarva Peninsula out to all of the U.S. and what it has to offer, Koenings said. They use brochures, mailing lists and spend $2,500 a year in print advertising.

He wishes they had the money to hire Wilson full time.

"We need someone to be constantly massaging it (the trail research)," Koenings said. "The enthusiasm and opportunities are there; we just need the human resources."

Koenings and his wife Phyllis live in South Point on the edge of the Sinepuxent Bay where they find ways to practice what they preach.

Koenings’ backyard is an example of a sustainable environment, particularly for birds. It is practically a sanctuary welcoming yellow finches and humming birds to the birdfeeder.

"We are always trying to find a cleaner, simpler way to live life," Koenings said.

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Ocean City Today

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Belize; Tourism



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