An article published in the July 1 edition of the Curry Coastal Pilot concerning Conservation Travel Innovations contained both erroneous information and private business information that was not intended for public release.
Conservation Travel Innovations is a proposed business venture involving some members of the Canopy Project board in Curry County, including Bob Harvey, Diane Kelsay, Mike Hewitt and Jon Younce.
Staff writer William Lundquist based the article on what he was told was a copy of a website that was provided to him by Henry Lustig, a critic of the Curry County canopy project.
Lundquist believed the material reflected a website open to the public browsing. Contrary to standard practices at The Pilot, Lundquist failed to contact any of the four board members or otherwise confirm the material before preparing the article for publication.
According to Harvey, who is involved in both projects, the material about Conservation Travel Innovations was not supposed to be available for public browsing and was not linked to other public web sites.
The material was private business information, Harvey says, and was still in draft form as ideas that were being shared among possible participants.
The headline and article implied that portions of the Curry County project might be used by Conservation Travel Innovations in Belize. Harvey said nothing in the Curry project that is not public record is involved in the private proposal in Belize.
In addition, as reported repeatedly in The Pilot over several years, Harvey and Kelsay, through their firm Egret Communications, have been working on canopy-related tourism in Belize and other areas of the world before presenting the idea in Curry County.
Nothing in the article or headline was intended to imply that there is anything improper about the Conservation Travel Innovations proposal or any activities of Harvey, Kelsay, Hewitt and Younce.
The Pilot apologizes for the errors and for any misunderstandings that may have been created by the article.