National Park Guards Have Requests Met by President

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By Wendy Anderscosta-rica-news-marino-ballena-national-park

Yesterday, on National Parks Day, President Luis Guillermo Solís met with park guards on a visit to Tenorio Volcano National Park in the northern Guanacaste mountain range.

Tenorio National Park is where Costa Rica’s enchanting Río Celeste, or Blue River, is located.

Park rangers had been threatening to close one or more national parks if their repeated requests for increased staff, salary incentives for on-call work, and other support continued to be ignored, stated the Environment and Energy Ministry union (Sitraminae) to the press this week.

Miguel Madrigal, park ranger and union member in an interview with AmeliaRueda.com news said, “We will have 50 more salaried field positions in next year’s budget,”

Édgar Gutiérrez, Environment and Energy Minister, said in an interview with AmeliaRueda.com that the 2017 budget includes about US$10 million from the National Park Fund which will be destined to improve infrastructure at national parks and working conditions for rangers.

According to the National Conservation Area System (SINAC) in 2015 nearly 2 million people visited the country’s 42 protected areas. The top choices for travelers are Manuel Antonio, Poás Volcano, Irazú Volcano, Marino Ballena park, Tortuguero, and Arenal Volcano.

In an interview AmeliaRueda.com, environmentalist Luis Diego Marín criticized the way funds for the national park system are distributed saying there is disproportionate

funding for “SINAC bureaucrats in air conditioned offices in San José, meanwhile rangers, the ones responsible for making sure the parks are functioning, go without basic things like toilet paper.”

SINAC officials countered by saying the national parks have turned into “drug sheds” and hoped for an improvement in conditions in the country’s national parks.

Solís invited park rangers to meet with him at Tenorio Volcano National Park, and listened to their difficulties and requests for assistance, as reported by AmeliaRueda.com.

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