Environment Ministry reports spike in illegal tours to Arenal Volcanos summit

first_imgEnvironment Ministry (MINAE) officials have reported an increase in the unauthorized entry of tourists to restricted areas ofArenal Volcano National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations.Visitors are not allowed within an established perimeter that averages 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the crater. The measure aims to protect visitors from both volcanic activity and rough terrain.Park administrators said that unlicensed tour guides are increasingly promoting hiking tours to the volcano’s cone, which poses a severe risk for tourists.At riskMINAE officials explained in a news release that because the area around the volcanic cone is not an authorized tourist site, it does not have any infrastructure for visitors. The restricted area lacks tourist trails or proper demarcation, and it includes very steep slopes.“The accumulation of material from the volcano makes the slopes unstable and prone to landslides,” the MINAE report states.Eliécer Duarte, a volcanologist with the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), told The Tico Times that for the most part, Arenal has been quiet for the past seven years. However, the areas close to the crater still maintain high temperatures and gas spewings.“Temperatures at fumaroles near the crater can reach some 200 degrees Celsius (392 ° F),” he said.Duarte said the biggest risk for those trying to reach the summit are rocks that fall from the sides of the volcano.“We’ve seen falling rocks the size of a house. Some of them measure 13 by 35 meters (42 x 115 feet),” he said.Both the ascent and descent from the cone demand great physical preparation, as each trip represents a four-hour walk on very inhospitable terrain, Duarte said. The terrain’s topography, the dense vegetation and even weather conditions are a significant challenge for many.Ongoing problemMINAE prohibited entrance to the restricted area in 1998. Today, access is allowed only for scientists, as well as staff from MINAE and the ministry’s National System of Conservation Areas.However, Duarte said OVSICORI staff frequently see groups of people walking inside the restricted area and hiking on the volcano’s slopes.“At nights, they look like fireflies. You can see them moving in lines from nearby areas, and even from the roads,” Duarte said.He said unlicensed tour guides are organizing many of these trips.“They are usually near bus stations and other tourist sites. They approach tourists and offer to take them to the crater and other restricted areas,” he said.Many of them also promote their trips on websites and Facebook profiles and then agree on a meeting point.“These so-call guides and their businesses are also hurting the park’s finances, as these people do not pay entrance tickets,” Duarte said.Wilson Barrantes, Regional Director of the Arenal Huetar Conservation Area, told The Tico Times that area officials have witnessed a spike in the illegal entrance of visitors to Arenal.“They are entering areas strictly devoted to conservation, not to visitation, but some people just care about profiting from the park’s resources,” he said.Prison timeBarrantes said the conservation area is increasing surveillance, and noted that National Police or Tourism Police officers will immediately evict anyone found inside a restricted area.They also will file a disobedience of authority complaint against those responsible for illegally taking people into a banned area.According to Costa Rica’s Criminal Code, those found guilty of such a charge could face prison sentences ranging from six months to three years.Barrantes said taking people to the restricted areas is highly irresponsible and “represents a huge risk, as it would take a lot of time and effort for a rescue team to reach and transport someone who is hurt.”He called on visitors to the area to enter the park only at authorized entrances.There are two official trails that explore Arenal National Park: Coladas and Ceibas. The park administration plans to open a third trail, La Península, next weekend, Barrantes said on Tuesday.“The new trail has big common areas, new viewpoints and essential services, all following accessibility standards,” Barrantes said.Recommended: La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano, and the Northern Plains Facebook Comments Related posts:Unlicensed guides are risking tourists’ lives by taking them too close to Costa Rica’s active volcanoes Gas, vapor at Poás Volcano prompts preventive measures UPDATE: Poás Volcano eruption prompts temporary closure of national park National Police announce operation to combat crime wave in Costa Rica’s Northern Zonelast_img read more

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The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments   Share   For the first time since the summer of 2009, the Arizona Cardinals have a pretty sure thing at the quarterback position.There is no Matt Leinart to lose the job to Derek Anderson. There is no Kevin Kolb to hand the job to, albeit without him having proven much at the NFL level.And there is no John Skelton to win an uninspiring quarterback battle.Carson Palmer, who is an established player in the league, is the guy, and barring injury will be the starter Week 1 when the Cardinals visit the St. Louis Rams. However, one player Palmer doesn’t have to learn much about is Larry Fitzgerald, who he’s admired from afar for many years via studying film. “He’s working as hard in practice as he was in games,” Palmer said of what he’s learned from being up close with Fitzgerald as a Cardinal. “He’s a perfectionist, he wants to do things right every single time.“He and I are going to get along great because I’m the same way.”But it’s not just about Fitzgerald, and Palmer knows that. “It’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with Larry, but it’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with every one of those guys because the ball can’t always go to him,” Palmer said. “I know that’s not what he wants to hear, but that’s the truth.”The latter statement was said with a smile and drew some chuckles, but it’s true.The quarterback added it’s important he gets on the same page with Floyd, Andre Roberts and anyone else who will be lining up with him, which is a process that is only now beginning. “Getting on the same page is just about repetition, it’s not about anything else,” he said. “Everybody runs the route different, a little bit of a different depth; the timing’s a little bit different coming out of breaks. That knowledge makes things easier on coaches, fans and players alike. To an extent, anyway.“You know who the for sure starter is so you always try to get the most reps with him,” second-year receiver Michael Floyd said after the team’s organized team activity Tuesday. “But it goes away because everyone’s just one play away from not playing so I think you’ve just got to have chemistry with both of them, just in case something happens.”Indeed, even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, and while Palmer is penciled in as the starter, backup Drew Stanton may find his way onto the field at some point. But for now, the veteran of nine NFL seasons is trying to get used to working with a new set of wideouts.The early returns, though, are very positive.“It’s just good to have this speed on the field and the size of these guys we have,” Palmer said. “They’re all big and strong.”Palmer acknowledged there is still a long way to go with regards to getting used to his new targets, and given that it’s just the middle of May there is still plenty of time to get acclimated. There were some interceptions Tuesday, which coach Bruce Arians attributed to players learning new roles and new teammates. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retirescenter_img Top Stories “The only way you get that timing down is just repetition after repetition.”A two-time Pro Bowler who has twice been to the postseason, when Palmer says something like that, you believe him. Whereas last year similar statements would have been met with doubt, the fact that Palmer has “been there and done that” allows him to command the room and allow those around him to feel confident. While no one will openly say it, that was probably lacking last season.And for a guy like Floyd, who caught 45 passes from four different quarterbacks as a rookie in 2012, having a guy like Palmer under center is comforting. “I like Carson’s leadership,” Floyd said of what’s different with the quarterbacks this season compared to last. “He demands a lot out of us and I feel like he’s the main guy out there, being very talkative. There’s a lot of experience in him, so a young guy like me coming into my second year, you know I looking a lot to him and focus because he’s been through it and the quarterback kind of makes everything roll.” – / 43 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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