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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

Costa Rica Travel: Hikers access illegal areas in National Parks

The authorities of the National System of Conservation Areas have reported that many hikers take tours in areas that are not permitted in several of the country’s national parks. Some even charge high sums of money to locals and foreigners, taking them to areas where these activities are prohibited.

For example, in June, at the Poás Volcano National Park, 71 people were detained and expelled from the facilities.

“Faced with the increase of illegal entries into protected wildlife areas through clandestine or illegal trails, the National System of Conservation Areas has made a call to stop this immediately,” said Rafael Gutiérrez, Director of the National System of Conservation Areas.

According to the authorities, the sites are duly marked with signs indicating that it is a danger zone and access by the general public is prohibited.

Those who engage in these practices endanger their lives and cause serious damage to the environment. In addition, they are subject to a series of fines. Initially, they are charged with an administrative prevention of illegal entry; if the conduct is repeated, they may be referred to the prosecutor’s office.

The prohibition of access to certain areas is established to prevent illegal activities, such as illegal hunting, damage and theft of wildlife species, burning, garbage and also for visitor safety.

Beautiful sites have deteriorated at an accelerated rate due to lack of protection and surveillance, and also because of unscrupulous people who seek to destroy the natural surroundings.

“We urge the population not to book these tours, which could lead to legal problems,” reiterated Gutiérrez. “It is important for the tourism sector to collaborate in these efforts to project an image of order and security to national and foreign visitors,” he concluded.

In some cases, people have needed the help of the Red Cross and rescuers after accessing these areas. For the first responders, these are areas of difficult access, which imply a great mobilization and use of resources.

Costa Rica’s beautiful national parks can be enjoyed responsibly and in compliance with the safety measures established by the government. These rules are implemented to guarantee access, enjoyment and safety for all tourists.

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