Puerto Rico: Mar Chiquita declared a Nature Reserve

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Many thanks to Teo Freytes for sharing this good news. The spectacular Mar Chiquita, Beach in Manatí (in northern Puerto Rico) will be protected as a nature reserve. El Nuevo Día’s Rebecca Banuchi reports on the creation of the Mar Chiquita Coastal Ecological Park Nature Reserve:

The turquoise waters and massive rock formations that characterize the coastal landscape of Manatí have recently become one of the favorite places for hundreds of people who go there each year in search of recreation and relaxation.

As in many other parts of the country, touristic appeal and ecological value come face to face on the Manatí coast, and in an attempt to reconcile those two interests, the administration of Alejandro García Padilla recently approved an Executive Order to establish the Mar Chiquita Coastal Ecological Park Nature Reserve [Reserva Natural Parque Ecológico Costero de Mar Chiquita].

The area, about 295 acres of land, it is bordered on the east by the Laguna Tortuguero Natural Reserve, on the west, with the Hacienda La Esperanza Nature Reserve, and on the south, with private land near developed areas. The protected premises includes the maritime zone, submerged ecosystems and waters that extend up to nine nautical miles offshore.

“These are areas that have a landscape of singular beauty. Mar Chiquita is an exceptionally beautiful place, and it is a unique landscape in Puerto Rico; and a landscape without a protective mechanism as the designation of nature reserve and, without a sectoral plan, are areas that are very susceptible to any kind of development plan, good and bad,” said El Nuevo Día architect Cardona Roig, vice president of the Planning Board (JP).

[. . .] Cardona Roig said that the plan, which could be ready in four weeks, seeks to address some of the harmful effects that unorganized growth has had so far in the area due to its sudden popularity. “Anyone who has visited the Poza de las Mujeres and Mar Chiquita realizes that many people go there. Above all, what is missing is a certain order. People park wherever they want or can, there are no limits, the whole place is a potential parking area, and this certainly should not be so,” said the official. “We must establish order to guarantee the permanence of these highly valuable resources, and this means its natural value, but also its value as a place for recreation and leisure. It has multiple values, and we must ensure their permanence.”

He said that within the sector plan, they are contemplating the development of bicycle paths and walkways between the Tortuguero Lagoon and La Esperanza, as well as viewing areas that allow visitors to enjoy the scenery without threatening the integrity of coastal resources. Similarly, the will build parking lots that conform to standards of sustainable development. [. . .]

For original article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/declaranamarchiquitareservanatural-2225044/

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