San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Emergency Commission Mulls Opening Active Volcano to Visitors

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced this week that reopening the Turrialba Volcano National Park on the Caribbean slope is “a possibility” as long as government institutions repair access roads and implement emergency escape plans.

The commission, which closed the park in January and evacuated nearby residents after it started spouting a plume of smoke and ash, said that plans to reopen the park must include “safe” evacuation routes, coordination between first response units and regulation of the number of visitors in the park.

According to the CNE, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) has developed plans to improve roads to the park, which remain narrow and rocky with sharp switchbacks. The group did not announce a start date for work on the roadways.

In a conference on Monday, CNE officials said that in spite of the possibility of opening the park, the commission maintains a yellow alert for a two kilometer radius around the crater of the volcano. Scientists said the volcano is still spewing gas and producing seismic activity as well as freatic eruptions, activity that began last January.

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