What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?
The impact our client and the tourism sector in our part of the wood have been small but positive so far.
Since tourism is actually a new concept and a new way for economic development in the rain forest of the Rio San Juan River, we may influence positively in the developing and planning a sustainable policy four our economic grow.
So far the small quantity of tourist that have visited our part of the rain forest has leave a positive influence on the local population, by way of showing the local how to value our natural resources, as well as our fauna and flora, that by protecting it, it will attract more visitor, who will in turn provide employment and economic benefit in ways of related services or sale of food items and souvenir.
We must implement good practices and apply the concept of sustainable development in full force with the entire player in our community. Showing by example, by making Montecristo River Lodge and & Reserve Silvestre Private Montecristo a model in sustainability so other lodges and tourist related businesses will follow. On our 120 manzanas of private reserve we are growing Cacao, vanilla, raicilla (ipecacuana: medicinal plant) as well as reforestation with local trees, and some bamboo for construction purposes, lots of flowers and fruit to attract birds and wild life. We are helping our part of the rain forest.
By involving the communities and implementing good practices for a sustainable development in the Rio San Juan, we want to have as result, and organized development were all the players will benefit, by reducing poverty, and improving the quality of life for all.
Thus we would use and protect the rain forest from depredation in all form, (or at least try to minimize the problem)
By using alternative system of agro forest development, by planting high profit yield crops such as cacao, vanilla, ipecacuana, and other exotic plants, minimizing the cattle ranching or combining it with a more sustainable way we will be protecting the jungle, the environment for future use.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
The first year:
Our goal will be to identify and unite all ONG and private individual who share the same goal of protecting the Rio San Juan rain forest, in the communities along the river such as San Carlos, Boca de Sabalos, El Castillo, San Juan de Nicaragua, on the Nicaraguan side of the river, also the communities on the Costa Rican side such as Boca de San Carlos, Sarapiqui, El Delta, y Barra del Colorado y Tortuguero.
As of now the government of Nicaragua has started cleaning or dragging the river basin, cleaning some old channels to divert some of water flow. This, we must watch closely, because the project could turn to be another disaster if left alone.
At the same time, watch closely the development of the hydroelectric project. Thanks God, the government had the good sense to stop the project until they made a new environmental impact study. For this we also feel proud to have been one of the first to denounce the fatality of the hydroelectric project, is just a one battle victory, not the end of the war against the hydroelectric project.
The second Year:
While keeping an eye on the new environmental impact study that the people from the Hydrobrito will be doing, we must advance on the implementing of sustainable good practices in all our community, using as a motor force, the tourist industry. With the help of all ONG’s and private individuals that we organized the first year of our proposal, we will be advancing toward our goal of protecting the rain forest of the San Juan River.
The third year:
We will be working toward a unified front against poverty and a sustainable development of a new tourist industry. Probably by our third year we will have united most of the ONG and people involved in sustainable development as well as the green party to keep the wheel in motion, either by channeling more funds and by keeping the work of the ONG going as long as possible.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Lack of interest and funding for the defense against Hydrobrito company and Nicaraguan government confiscating the land for the benefit of the hydroelectric project will be the two major factor causing the failure of our defense in protecting the rain forest of the Rio San Juan.