Saturday, January 28, 2023

Impressive Images of How ATVs Are Affecting Villa de Leyva, Who’s Stopping Them?

One of the plans that tourists today have the most to stake is their contact with the environment, usually outdoors and with some adrenaline.

Favorite places to do them are Villa de Leyva (Boyaca) in the middle of the La Candelaria desert next to the famous Pozos Azules, Listed by many as a natural wonder it concentrates water with sodium which gives the liquid its distinctive tone. There are also other wells that contain a high concentration of iron, which gives it a red color. Watching them closely becomes a spectacle. There is very little vegetation around this area, which is why its destroyed ecosystem enjoys special protection. These attractions are inside private farms, with admission to visit them costing an average of $12,000.

But to make the plan more complete, the tourist activities offices decided to set up tours in ATVs and buggies, they charge between $50,000 and $80,000. It is estimated that more or less 1500 tourists pay for a festive bridge tour. Around 350 vehicles provide continuous service for more than eight hours. The village of Sopota, where three farms are located that allow the entry of ATVs, literally blows the dust every weekend. Producing an irreversible impact on the ground, the trail of neglect left by predatory tires is evident if satellite and drone images taken before the pandemic are compared with the present. This land use also does not allow agricultural activities to avoid injuries as per the Land Management Plan (POT).

ATV in Villa de Leyva – photo: supplied per week

So, how is it explained that, from the mayor’s office of Villa de Leyva, they authorized ATVs to operate there?

Semana spoke to Javier Castellanos, the head of the municipality, and said he never supported this happening. However, Medium has a document dated November 2021, in which it says verbatim: “Determined to provide or temporarily allow the use of the property to develop the activity of renting ATVs and Bugui taken into account The results of the visits made gave us a high percentage of compliance with respect to the aspects observed by each of the units in charge of its verification, monitoring and control ”, It is signed by José Danilo Guzmán, secretary of the municipal government.

Pointing to the existence of the document, the mayor recalled that permission had been granted, but provisionally. This may have happened after a tour they made, which also included the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Boyaca (Corpoboyca), which came on land on 4 November, although this version does not match the information provided by Corpoboyca, which said It has been said that it was not possible to carry it. out of observation that day. But after a week. So, how true is the information they are providing from the study, asks the disgruntled population.

Castellanos clarifies that with all the controversy and after evidence of noise pollution and other impacts, tourism companies are warned that they no longer have permits, declarations that are unsuccessful in practice, as they continue to operate. The local president said, “I would be most happy if they sealed those places, because that takes away the headache, but it is a task that corresponds to Corpoboyka.” On his part, ATV spokesman Antonio Munever told them that it will not be that easy because they pay taxes and all legal requirements like any other vehicle, “To keep us safe, Neither he nor anyone else can affect the right to work which sustains around 500 people in this area.” He explains that if they close that place, they will go back to tertiary streets to work.

Satellite image in 2017 before ATV:

Atv In Villa De Leyva
ATV in Villa de Leyva – photo: Google Map

atv aftermarket photos (2022)

Atv In Villa De Leyva
ATV in Villa de Leyva – photo: Google Map

For its part, Corpoboyca says it has taken some steps to contain the problem. There is also a magnifying glass in the Environmental Attorney’s office, but apparently no one has teeth or wants to bite into the hot potato many people are having fun with. But it ends up being an environmental and social tragedy hidden in the apparent calm of Villa de Leyva.

Before the pandemic, ATVs traveled through tertiary roads, causing many accidents. Therefore, the administration did not see any problem in walking on private land without taking into account the impact on the land.

Nation World News Desk
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