Beautiful area of PANAMA brings opportunity for REAL “EcoTourism” in the country for 2024.

Conservation
This natural reserve offers the opportunity to promote ecotourism in the heart of the metropolis

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) is in the final phase of the transfer of Cerro Ancón to the Ministry of the Environment (MiAmbiente). The transfer process, which began in June 2023, “is focused on administrative preparation and the definition of responsibilities,” the MEF detailed in a statement.

One of MiAmbiente’s priorities is to maintain the flags and flagpole it has, explained Michel Caballero, biologist from the MiAmbiente management. The second component of the MiAmbiente project, Caballero detailed, is to rehabilitate the existing tourist facilities. For example, many signs, picnic areas, and bathrooms must be changed. Tourist facilities already exist, but need to be improved for visitors, both national and foreign.

 

 

 

 

When installing signage within a protected area, there is a manual to know which signs are needed. There will be signs that can be moved and others where they are necessary, for example, at the entrance to Ancón Hill, added Caballero. .

 

 

The biologist announced that the remodeling process will begin next year, the cost of which will be around $2.6 million from the Inter-American Development Bank. “The project was presented to the IDB, and approval of the activities is awaited.”

Ancón Hill is an icon of sovereignty. It was previously under the jurisdiction of the United States, as part of the Canal Zone. Since 1977, through the Torrijos-Carter treaties, Panama regained control of the hill and one of its first actions was to raise a large flag at the top.

 

 

 

 

With its 199 meters of altitude, the area covers 40.4 hectares where there is a wide variety of species of wild flora and fauna, including sloths, armadillos, coatis, toucans and deer. All of this could have influenced the Municipal Council of Panama to create the Cerro Ancón Natural Reserve through Agreement No. 157 of July 31, 2001.

This reserve has a technical commission for planning the development of a sustainable tourism plan for the protected area, which was created by Executive Decree No. 6 of February 13, 2017, and its objectives are to make recommendations for the preparation of the plan. of sustainable tourism development of the protected area and evaluate the results of the studies carried out for the preparation of the sustainable tourism development plan.

 

 

 

 

“The ideal is that this commission is reactivated and all needs that the protected area requires can be covered in terms of security, that there be personnel, and order in the visits that are received. Currently we have a staff that receives, the ideal is that there are four [park rangers].”

An opportunity for ecotourism

The Cerro Ancón Natural Reserve was declared Historical Heritage of Panama and is one lung of the city, the other is the Metropolitan Natural Park. They are places that have great value for people who are in the city, they are accessible, friendly to all ages, because they allow walking as they are safe, Caballero highlighted to La Estrella de Panamá .

In 2021, 10,000 people were welcomed to Ancón Hill, and in 2022, 13,000 visitors arrived, including nationals, foreigners and students. The number for 2023 is not yet available. Among the activities that are carried out the most are: hiking, and environmental education by schools that carry out pedagogical activities.

“The activities that can be done in the future will depend on what type of activity it is. As it is a protected area, activities that generate a lot of noise cannot be carried out, for the care of the species. Not all activities can be carried out and the impact they would have on biodiversity must be evaluated.”

“Many photo-taking activities have been requested. For these, they must always ask for permission (…) The proposals are presented, a team evaluates them and validates whether it is compatible or not. But obviously they do want to promote recreational activities,” added Caballero.

For his part, Guido Berguido, director of the Adopta Bosque Panamá Association, commented that it is a good initiative to have transferred Ancón Hill to the Ministry of the Environment, since it is “the governing entity of the country’s natural resources. It’s positive in that sense. It could be expected that a corresponding management plan will be executed, in which the conservation of the flora and fauna that makes Cerro Ancón such a special place takes priority.”

“The only thing that worries us is that there is no administrative capacity to conserve the place, to have park rangers, environmental education personnel. Otherwise it is a positive idea.”

The ideal is that a board of trustees be created for Cerro Ancón, as the Metropolitan Natural Park has. So that with the creation of the board, government entities, municipalities, NGOs dedicated to research, academia, such as the University of Panama, UTP, promote conservation and ecotourism in the area.

“[Cerro Ancón] has a lot of potential. It is a lung within the city. It has a panoramic view of Panama City. It is an observatory for migratory birds of global importance. It is an area that currently has trails and, in fact, more pedestrian paths can be implemented. “It is worth monitoring and promoting it to achieve long-term sustainable development,” he concluded.

Ancón Hill has an estimated value of $50 million 544 thousand, according to the MEF.

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