Environmentalists Demand Park Land Expropriations
The country’s leading environmental groups are demanding that long-discussed expropriations of private land within Las Baulas National Marine Park, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, begin immediately.
In a letter to President Oscar Arias, accompanied by the signatures of 7,685 Costa Rican citizens, they cited the importance of the park’s beaches for the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle, whose numbers have plummeted more than 90% during the past 20 years (TT, April 13).
Playa Grande, the park’s centerpiece north of Tamarindo, ranks as the most important nesting beach in Costa Rica and one of the five most important in the world (TT, Jan.28, 2005).
A dispute over the meaning of two words in the park’s creation document have led to nearly interminable legal battles between property owners, who believe the park includes only the beach and marine territory, and environmentalists, who insist it includes a terrestrial portion.
According to a statement released by six of the country’s major environmental groups, the process has been stalled since May 2006, despite a binding decision from the Government Attorney’s Office and only 0.22% of the land has been expropriated.
“We are not talking about expropriating a coastal community which has lived for generations on the site. On the contrary, the owners of these properties are mostly companies and partnerships which should not have a higher priority than the natural resources that belong to all Costa Ricans,” said Wagner Quirós, coordinator of the National Network for Sea Turtle Conservation.
You may be interested
In context: Costa Rica’s struggles with indigenous land rightsThe Tico Times - March 19, 2019
Sergio Rojas, a leader of the Bribrí community in Costa Rica, was murdered Monday night in the indigenous territory of…
‘A tragic day for the Bribrí people’ as leader Sergio Rojas is killedAlejandro Zúñiga - March 19, 2019
Sergio Rojas, a leader of the indigenous Bribrí community in Costa Rica, was murdered Monday night, the government confirmed. Rojas…
This week in the Peace Corps: Sports for youth developmentSusan W. / Peace Corps Volunteer - March 19, 2019
Some rural communities struggle with lack of resources and recreational activities. In my experience, the majority of the people in…