Between March 20 and 22, residents of Guiones, Pelada, and Ostional learned about the proposed Plan General de Manejo (Management Plan) for the Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

In a series of meetings within the Refuge and Buffer Zone, about 200 people turned out to hear about the Plan´s key elements from Yeimy Cedeño, who manages the Refuge for the Areas de Conservacion Tempisque (ACT), and other officials who had a part in drafting the plan.

If you weren’t among the attendees, here is the key message: zoning will not substantially change the current practices and prohibitions in the Refuge.

Specifically, the proposed Plan establishes four categories of zoning:

  • Minimum or no intervention in mangroves, forested areas, rock zones, and Playa Nosara.
  • Low intervention, allowing no new construction, no concessions, and no animals or motorized vehicles on beaches, dunes, houses near the mangroves, and open areas. Activities already allowed can continue.
  • Medium intervention, in grasslands, and in Pelada and Guiones communities.
  • High intervention, to permit sustainable tourism in Ostional.

The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), which commissioned the plan, also recommended regulations for the Buffer Zone, which extends 5 km inland from the Refuge.

Now the President must sign the regulations for Law 9348, which authorized the Management Plan, into effect. After all recommendations from the affected communities have been considered, SINAC will submit the plan to the National Environmental Secretariat (SETENA) for approval.