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Ecotourism, what is it? And why it is important to the Palm Beaches

PBS documentary to feature three local students
Three students journey through northern Palm Beach County featured in a new documentary.
Posted at 8:29 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 20:29:48-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY — As the documentary starts you see former Palm Beach County senior Noah Langley floating by an alligator, “Being in the river, being with those alligators, it’s a little Jurassic Parky out there,” describes Noah.

Three Palm Beach County school district students are featured in a new documentary called 'Hidden Wild.'

“Walking through a Florida swamp is like walking back in time,” said the guide in the documentary.

The show is about the students seven-day journey from swamps in the Everglades using only trails and waterways to get to the Atlantic ocean.

"We have enough ecotourism resources to rival a national park," said Sergio Piedra from Discover The Palm Beaches.

"It's bigger than over 25 of the national parks," said Benji Studt of PBC Environment Resource Management.

The production was co-produced by Palm Beach County's marketing arm to draw in ecotourism dollars.

"Ecotourism is when we encourage and inspire travelers to come and explore the outdoors here," said Piedra.

Ecotourism is important to the Palm Beaches, "It becomes more important each year. Now, during COVID, during this pandemic, it has become front and center. People want that fresh air they want to feel safe in the outdoors," Piedra said.

Studt said, "The wild and scenic Loxahatchee is surrounded by 160,000 plus acres of public land."

Environment Resource Management helped highlight Palm Beach County's hidden treasures.

Studt sights the county's research, "Millennials really want to invest in experiences rather than products. So ecotourism is a huge thing for millennials and we have that here."

"They know we have beaches, but they don't know about these incredible rivers and lakes and hiking areas," said Piedra.

"It's very sad that not that many even know that this is here, I didn't know it was here," Noah said.

'Hidden Wild' begins airing on PBS this weekend all over South Florida. Check your local listings.