Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 10:17 am CST.
By Zoila Palma: A new visitors’ pavilion, a panoramic viewing area, 2 public restrooms and changing rooms along with new access trails have been completed at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations shared that the facilities were completed within the reserve at Rio On Pools and Rio Frio Cave.
At the Rio On Pools, the enhancement consists of a visitors’ pavilion, a panoramic viewing area, two public restrooms, and changing rooms.
At the Rio Frio Cave, visitors can use the three picnic palapas, restroom, and new access trails.
Both facilities will now have eco-friendly sewage systems, and the supply of water will be powered by solar energy.
The Ministry says that parking area upgrades are also planned for these two sites under the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) II.
The program is a five-year program financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and executed through the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations.
“These upgrades meet an important objective of the program: to increase tourism expenditures, employment and income through tourism product diversification,” the ministry noted.
In addition, informational and directional signs have been installed throughout the reserve, as well as along the Caracol access roads by the Sustainable Tourism Program II.
The facilities were constructed at a cost of BZ$542,323.23.
The Forestry Department will be responsible to maintain the facilities, as the managing entity in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
“The STPII has also invested in several consultancies for the Mountain Pine Ridge region, including a Feasibility Study, Environmental Management and Operational Plan, and a Tourism Investment Plan, and a Conservation Management Plan. Future areas of support under the STPII include the development of a maintenance plan for these investments, and a tourism development and visitor management plan for the protected area,” the ministry explained.
The Mountain Pine Ridge continues to see an increase in local and international visitors since it is an area for recreational tourism and gateway to the adjacent protected areas of the Chiquibul and the Caracol Archaeological Reserve.
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