Every year, on August 24th, National Parks Day is celebrated. It is a date to highlight the valuable diversity and the country’s progress on this issue, as well to take challenges into account.
In Costa Rica there are 169 protected areas. There are 28 are 28 national parks, 71 wildlife refuges, 8 biological reserves, 31 protected areas, nine forest reserves, among others. Protected areas represent 26% of the national territory. In total, 1,354,488 hectares are under some protection category.
Zdenca Piskulich, Executive Director of Costa Rica por Siempre Association, which has been working with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), declared that there is little time to dream of the protected area system we want.
Piskulich stressed that although Costa Rica is a country known for its biodiversity, representation must be increased:
We have protected the land, but there are areas of inland water, aquifer storage and marine zones that are not well represented within the systems.
The second challenge is effectiveness, because according to the spokeswoman, there may be many protected areas but they must be managed in the most effective way.
The third challenge is to work with short deadlines plans. Costa Rica por Siempre Association has been working with the government to implement plans within 5 years to be more effective in determining what changes should be made so that the system works in a more profitably way.
On Wednesday, Mario Coto, executive director of SINAC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Technical University (UTN). It aims to establish a framework for mutual cooperation, allowing the promotion and implementation of activities such as exchanges in cooperation projects, training, information exchange, infrastructure development, ecotourism development, research, environmental education, development of activities in the area of teaching, among others.
In 2015, the 42 protected areas received 1,895,196 visitors. The favorite ones are Manuel Antonio, Poás Volcano, Irazú Volcano, Marino Ballena, Tortuguero and Arenal Volcano.