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Tourism of doom - travel to imperiled places

Quito, Ecuador -- Dennis and Stacie Woods, a married couple from Seattle, choose their vacation destinations based on what they fear is fated to destruction.

This month it was a camping and kayaking trip around the Galapagos Islands. Last year, it was a stay at a remote lodge in the Amazon, and before that, an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.

"We wanted to see the islands this year," Dennis Woods, a lawyer, said last week in a hotel lobby here, "because we figured they're only going to get worse."

The visit to the Amazon was "to try to see it in its natural state before it was turned into a cattle ranch or logged or burned to the ground," he said. Kilimanjaro was about seeing the sunrise on the highest peak in Africa before the ice cap melts, as some forecasters say it will within the next dozen years.

Next on their list: the Arctic before the ice is gone.

The Woodses are part of a travel trend that Ken Shapiro, the editor in chief of TravelAge West, a magazine for travel agents, calls "the Tourism of Doom."

"It's not just about going to an exotic place," Shapiro said. "It's about going someplace they expect will be gone in a generation."

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