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Turrialba volcano reopens after 8 years closed

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The Turrialba Volcano National Park will reopen its doors on December 4, which will allow to reactivate the local economy, in particular hotels, restaurants and other businesses that have been severely affected since the closure 8 years ago.

The executive director of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), Rafael Gutiérrez, indicated that all the points proposed in 2018 by the National Emergency Commission to carry out the opening were results.

“Once the Turrialba volcano decreased its activity considerably, the reopening of the National Park has been responsibly sought together with other entities to favor the reactivation of local economies and businesses close to the area through tourism,” said Gutiérrez.

In addition, with the reopening of the National Park, safe and controlled access will be allowed for those who want to visit the volcano, and thus avoid emergency situations and incidents such as those that have occurred in recent days with people who entered forbidden areas of the place.

The First Lady of the Republic and promoter of the reopening of the Turrialba Volcano National Park, Claudia Dobles, visited the communities surrounding the volcano where she highlighted the great tourist potential of the area.

“This is great news. This area is full of tourist attractions and the National Park is expanding and strengthening the offer, so we hope to see economic growth in the nearby communities. I invite the Costa Rican population to visit Turrialba as of December 4 and to enjoy this experience again, ”said Dobles.

Alternative route agreement. In order to ensure access to the Turrialba Volcano National Park through an alternate route, the National Council of Conservation Areas (CONAC), the highest body of SINAC, agreed to an agreement with the owners of Finca Montecalas.

The main access to the Turrialba Volcano, national route 417, is currently under legal process, as the owners of the La Central hacienda have claimed it as part of their property. To date, there has been no resolution by the court, so the alternative Montecalas route will guarantee access to the National Park.

Improvements made. Among the improvements that have been made in the Turrialba Volcano National Park, the remodeling of the entrance gate, the booth for the attention of visitors and the repair of sanitary services stands out.

In addition, the construction of railings in the viewpoint area and seven protection areas was developed, which cover the ascent path from the visitor service booth to the crater viewpoint and the Chusquea trail, among other improvements that are made nowadays.

8-year closing. In 2012, the Turrialba Volcano rapidly increased its activity, going from fumaroles to phreatic eruptions of moderate intensity, which alerted the institutions in charge of and responsible for volcanic monitoring in our country.

The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), the National Seismological Network (RSN) and the National Emergency and Risk Prevention Commission (CNE), through the Technical Advisory Committee in Volcanology (CAT), recommended the total closure of the visit to the National Park, maintaining a minimum management within the perimeter of two kilometers around the active crater.

As of 2016, volcanic activity decreased, so in 2018 the MINAE-SINAC initiated coordination with the CNE to establish improvements in order to a possible reopening.

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza, indicated that “MINAE and SINAC have worked hard to make the improvements requested by the CNE, seeking to reactivate tourism in the National Park, in addition to guaranteeing security and a space of high quality enjoyment and entertainment ”.

Meza pointed out that the objective of the reopening is “that this generation of tourism can also have a positive impact on the local economy, since MINAE knows the problems faced by many local businessmen and workers, who have seen for 8 years their income and jobs have been reduced due to the absence of tourists who frequented this protected wild area ”.

Among the entities involved in the efforts to reopen the park are also the Municipality of Turrialba, the Chamber of Tourism of Turrialba and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

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