The presentation of new improvements on the Sendero Pacífico called for a packed house at the community center on Saturday, March 4. The celebratory event was held in conjunction with the opening of a new cafe next to the community center.
The network of trails that starts at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve connects all the way down to Punta Morales and the Gulf of Nicoya, now with a completed inlet by the San Luis community center.
Workers from the Bruce Trail Conservancy in Canada stayed in UGACR housing as a base for their work on the Pacific Slope Trail. This sisterhood relationship between trail networks means that they will visit again in the future.
This trail connects several distinct ecological zones, showcasing the huge amount of biodiversity that can be seen in such a small area within Costa Rica.
“One of the things that makes it special is not just that it is within this wonderful natural environment of the Bellbird Biological Corridor, but also that it provides access to different communities along the way,” says Nathaniel Scrimshaw, Sendero Pacífico Coordinator.
Monteverde, San Luis, Veracruz and San Antonio, Guacimal, and the mangroves of Costa de Pájaros can all be accessed through this winding hike to the coast.
Public access roads and permissions given by private farms were integral to creating a trail network that will not charge entry fees. The participation of Banco Nacional were critical in the opening of the cafe and the signs to connect the trails.
Both of the events that debuted were funded by the Association de Desarollo Integral (ADI). Banco National helped to fund the community leadership in order to facilitate these two grand openings, promoting more rural tourism in San Luis.
Since this trail network has been left in the hands of the community and is not government controlled, the people of the communities are going to be responsible for the quality of the trail looking forward.
This is a critical model of communities supporting each other to preserve biodiversity in one of the most endangered areas of Costa Rica. Deforestation has created islands of forest that are parted by pasturelands. The areas preserved by the trail network are going to serve not only as a trial for humans, but as a trail for migrating wildlife and other species who need larger areas to roam.
The focal points of recreation, education, investigation, and community are converging goals of the Sendero Pacífico. These improvements will help travelers and locals to connect more with our outstanding natural environment. To see how you can volunteer with the trail or get more connected, visit the San Luis Community page!
Blog post contributed by Photojournalism Intern Charles Austin Boll