Eco Tourism Activities
The establishment of a Natural Reserve in the Playuela Valley would protect and encourage economical opportunities in the fast-growing ecological tourism industry. Construction plans in the Playuela Valley would destroy the ecological balance in the region and would cause the loss of economic opportunities for generations to come. Once construction plans are underway, the damage will be irreversible and Playuela will lose its charm and its natural biodiversity forever. The following are ecological tourism activities that could produce millions of dollars in revenues without damaging this natural paradise.
Playuela World Surfing Reserve
The establishment of the first World Surfing Reserve in the Caribbean would continue to attract surf tourism to the region. World Surfing Reserves, a program of Save The Waves Coalition, proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and surrounding environments around the world. The program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. Surfing is one of the main tourism sources in the entire west coast of Puerto Rico. The Playuela valley coast in the Atlantic Ocean consists of a complex reef system, ideal swell and wind conditions that provide excellent waves on world-renowned surf spots such as Wilderness, El Mix, Pressure Point, Wishing Wells, and others. The further development of Playuela as a World Surfing Reserve, would increase the local economy and bring more tourism to the area.
Playuela Eco Agricultural Laboratory
The Playuela valley is home to a system of aquifers that feed from the local rainfall. There are seven freshwater wells located within the Playuela valley, which date from the early 1800’s. Along with fertile soil, these aquifers provide an excellent opportunity to establish an agricultural laboratory in which tourists as well as scientists can experience firsthand the agricultural process and conduct research on different plant species. Local residents can benefit from establishing agricultural micro-enterprises to further develop this industry. With the construction of the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort, these wells and aquifer system will be contaminated forever due to excessive runoff and sanitary waste percolation.
Snorkeling and Diving Destination
Playuela counts with a complex reef system, underwater caves, and is home of dozens of coral species, including 3 different endangered corals such as the Elkhorn Coral, Pillar Coral, and Massive Star Coral. It is also home to many kinds of tropical fish species, the spotted mantaray and endangered sea turtles such as the Hawksbill Sea Turtle. With over 6 million registered divers and over 20 million recreational snorkelers worlwide and revenues of over $11 billion dollars in the US, this industry should be promoted as part of the Playuela Valley Natural Reserve. Runoff and improper handling of water discharge from the construction of the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort would harm and destroy the biological diversity of the marine life in the Playuela Valley.
Whale Watching Destination
Humpback whales travel over 16,000 miles to the warm waters of the Playuela valley to mate and give birth. The pristine environment and clear waters are their perfect breeding ground. The whale watching industry generated revenues of over $3.2 billions dollars and experiences a growth of about 10% annually. In the Dominican Republic, whales are especially protected by the establishment of the National Marine Mammal Sanctuary and attract over 25,000 visitors each season. The construction of the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort would cause the contamination of the feeding, reproductive and breeding waters and would be a threat to the humpback whale population that migrates to the Playuela Valley.
Playuela Mountain Biking and Trail Running
Playuela Valley’s different trails, caves, and general off-road terrain make it an ideal place to practice sports such as mountain-biking and trail running. The mountain biking industry generates over $6.2 billion to the US economy and the trail running sport is the #12 fastest growing sport with over 6 million participants. As part of the Playuela Valley Natural Reserve, these trails must be further conditioned to tap into this market and convert the reserve in a worldwide destination.
Playuela as a Bird-Watching Destination
The Playuela Valley is home to many native species of birds and is part of the migration path of other bird species, which flock to the area by the thousands. It is home to the Puertorrican Lizard Cuckoo, the Scaly-Naped Pigeon, the Zenaida Dove, the Yellow Warbler, the Bananaquit, the American Oystercatcher, the Kingbird, among many others. The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are over 50 millions bird-watching enthusiasts, more than hunters and fishers combined. This industry generates over $26 billion dollars in the US, Canada, and Mexico and employs over 60,000 people. The construction of the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort would destroy the habitat of all these bird species and would harm their migration patterns.
Playuela Camping Grounds
With and estimated 45 million campers in the US, the camping industry is a viable ecological tourism activity in the Playuela Valley. The protest encampment has been visited by many camping enthusiasts from all over the island. The development of camping facilities, trails, and marked campgrounds would be a tourist attraction like no other. The pristine and untouched state of the Playuela Valley make it an ideal place to stargaze at night. The location in the west make it an ideal place to watch beautiful sunsets. Coupled with whale, dolphin and turtle sightings, camping in the Playuela Valley is an out-of-this-world experience.