Crane Tourism Revenue Down Significantly Due to COVID-19 Closures

April 13, 2020 - 6:00pm

The Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, NE says it will only see about 10% of the revenue is usually gets from sandhill crane tourism because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Leadership at the sanctuary followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control early in the pandemic. The sanctuary relies on volunteers from around the country, many of whom called to cancel based on their concerns about COVID-19.

The sanctuary shut down after about one week of the normal crane season. Tours were scheduled to last six weeks.

According to the Rowe Sanctuary, crane tourism’s economic impact for the local area is usually between 10 and 15 million dollars. They estimate this year the area saw about 10% of that revenue.

Last year the sanctuary cancelled around 50% of their tours because flooding damaged roads.

Bill Taddicken is director of the Rowe Sanctuary. He’s worried about loss of revenue and how it may impact conservation efforts on the Platte River.

“This work that’s been done over the last 50 years to clear river channel and maintain all of that habitat could easily be lost in three to five years if it stops happening,” Taddicken said. “So we are reaching out to a lot of our supporters and to people to just consider us if they’re making donations.”

Taddicken added the sanctuary and crane tours will be back next year.

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