In May, we are launching our flagship program, Guardians of the Pacuare (Guardianes del Pacuare in Spanish), uniting the Pacuare tourism community to work together to preserve the river basin.
The Pacuare River is a jewel of natural beauty and a critical ecosystem as a biological corridor. The middle of the watershed, most known for whitewater rafting and kayaking, has developed considerably since the first companies began operating there in the early 1980s. Now four decades later, 17 rafting companies and 11 lodges bring thousands of tourists annually to enjoy the river’s beauty and thrilling rapids. However, the river basin is facing environmental challenges, including impact on water quality, pollution, illegal hunting and fishing, deforestation, removal of river material, and habitat loss. The purpose of our program is to unite stakeholders from the tourism community to preserve the river, forest, and wildlife.
We met with various companies the first week of May to present our program, complete a survey about their operations, and ask what impacts they see happening along the Pacuare. We also met with the Development Association (ADI) of the Nairi Awari Cabecar indigenous territory and their territory’s park rangers to get their input.
We will gather key actors from the tourism community on May 26 in Turrialba to discuss the details of the Guardians of the Pacuare program and collaborate on ideas and strategies for how everyone can work together. This meeting and a small reforestation on May 27 at Finca San Martin in Tres Equis are replacing our Festival RAFA this year.
The Guardians of the Pacuare program involves:
- Creating a COVIRENA (Natural Resources Vigilance Committee) with the Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor Committee and Pacuare tourism companies. This community organization, registered with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), accredits honorary environmental inspectors to assist in the surveillance and protection of natural resources.
- Forming a Citizen Water Observatory (Observatorio Cuidadano de Agua – OCA) with several Pacuare lodges under the national program of the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica. An OCA unites citizen volunteers to protect, preserve, and restore water resources in their community. It also ties into Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Ecological Program (Bandera Azul Ecológica), which helps protect the country’s environmental and social landscapes. Rafa Gallo joined the Blue Flag Program Committee in 2007, helping to create two new categories for Blue Flags: Micro Watersheds and Natural Protected Spaces.
- Developing sustainable guidelines for tourism companies to operate in the Pacuare River Basin.
- River cleanups
- Water quality monitoring
If you would like to find out more about the Guardians of the Pacuare program, please contact us.