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Environmental organizations and park rangers denounce ‘deterioration’ of National Parks

August 23, 2019

Costa Rica is honoring its protected land Saturday during National Parks Day. But not everyone will be celebrating.

The Costa Rica Park Rangers Association, the Costa Rican Federation for the Conservation of Nature, the MINAE Workers’ Union, and more than three-dozen environmental organizations on Thursday denounced working conditions at Costa Rica’s National Parks.

Primarily focusing on “the precarious conditions in which park rangers work,” the statement claims National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), which is part of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), has not completed 19 of 24 infrastructure projects it had established as a priorities in 2015. 

“SINAC does not have a mechanism to identify needs that require an intervention of physical infrastructure or the ability to select an alternative solution,” it read.

The statement also criticized Costa Rica’s government for “systematic abandonment of Protected Wildlife Areas” and asked for a larger percentage of National Park revenue to be reserved for maintaining and improving those areas. 

“It is noteworthy that the celebration of National Parks Day at Rincon de la Vieja National Park will represent an estimated cost of 25 million colones, while the houses of most of the surveillance posts are practically uninhabitable,” it read.

MINAE has not issued a response to Thursday’s complaints, though it responded to similar allegations last year by saying it has invested more than $33 million toward infrastructure projects since 2014.

Members of the organizations that signed Thursday’s statement will demonstrate Saturday at 4 p.m. at Plaza de la Cultura in San José.

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