Monday, May 29, 2023

Mendoza is one step away from having its first national park

Some 85,000 hectares of glaciers, wetlands and archaeological sites that today form part of the “Uspallata” Defense Nature Reserve could become the first national park in Mendoza province, if the provincial congress approves a project in which the Ministry of Defense and the National Park Administration (APN ) works closely with local communities and environmental organizations.

While the State of Mendoza maintains about twenty protected areas under the provincial administration, the Ministry of Defense, established in 2021, in coordination with the National Parks, the “Uspallata” Defense Nature Reserve, which extends over 215 thousand hectares encompassing the territory, To the west, it borders the Aconcagua Provincial Park and to the north the Natural Reserve of Defense “Manantiales” in San Juan Province.

Within a protected area created by the Ministry of Defense on land belonging to the Argentine military, some of the most important rivers of an arid province are born, and in mid-2022 a specimen of the Andean cat, an endangered feline species known as Is. “Andean Cat”, was recorded on that property as “… The Ghost” for the unusualness of its sighting.

In addition, there are preserved archaeological sites of native cultures and an important part of the history of the crossing of the Andes in the liberation expedition headed by General San Martín.

The initiative proposes to allocate more than a third of that reserve for the creation of a park that would increase the level of conservation of biodiversity and promote economic development of the area through tourism.

While the Argentine Army and the Argentine Air Force establish the sites of the property that must remain in defense orbit for the continuation of military exercises, the National Park consults with local people in areas of interest and aspects for conservation with environmental organizations. work with representatives. In which this project will give a boost to tourism activities.

The initiative was presented to the Uspalata community in early May, while the provincial legislators of the Frente de Todos presented the project to the Mendoza Congress, as it is the local legislature that has the power to delegate jurisdiction to the federal state. The creation of a national park, which could be the first in a province that already manages about twenty protected areas within its territory.

In a conversation with Telam, Pablo Serenelli, Director of Real Estate, Reserves and Infrastructure of the Ministry of Defense, confirmed that “the land of Uspalata is part of the initiative that we know today as ‘Natural Reserves of Defense’ Armed Forces or properties of defense organizations in which, together with national parks, we identify conservation interests to be protected and in which we can establish safeguards without conditioning on defense activities”.

«In Uspallata in 2021 we created a natural defense reserve of more than 215 thousand hectares, and work with environmental organizations and local representatives in the National Park Project to increase the degree of protection of a fraction of the national park of about 85 thousand hectares, Which will also be an incentive for tourism activity and the regional economy,” he said.

The official highlighted that “the proposed area is of great importance not only to protect the biodiversity of the region, but also to be part of the crossing of the Andes that led to San Martín on these lands, and the ‘Camino del Inca’ ‘ has been crossed by. ‘ and are also valuable sites for our native cultures.

The project wants a national park to protect all these things and it was agreed that the influence of the land does not affect the development of normal training activities of the armed forces.

“There are areas of the Defense Natural Reserve that cannot be part of a national park because there the army trains in activities with mules or because at certain points the Air Force conducts shooting exercises,” he explained.

An interesting aspect of this initiative is that the entire project design process was developed in dialogue with local actors who added their views to the National State proposal.

“The idea is that the project is promoted with the greatest possible consensus in the Mendoza Congress, which we believe will be beneficial in many aspects,” Serenelli concluded.

For his part, Federico Granato, president of the National Park Administration, said in a conversation with Telum that “although the National Park has been working on this project for a long time, what gives it momentum today is the important work done by the residents here.” There is demand, willingness to make it happen, and in that sense they have also organized to participate in it and shape it.

«The land proposed to integrate a potential national park has the sources of several rivers, notably the Mendoza River and the San Alberto Basin; We are talking about a province in which water is a scarce commodity and it will be necessary to provide the highest degree of protection to the glaciers and wetlands in that region,” he stressed.

Granato said that “seeing a specimen of the Andean cat within that property shows that we are talking about a very important place for biodiversity, because it is an endangered animal that is too rare to be seen.” rare, nothing they call ‘ghost'”.

The official stressed that “both the Argentine Army and the Ministry of Defense have a great instinct to create a national park there and we are working in a participatory manner with the Uspallata community to agree on various aspects of the initiative; Mendoza’s Environment Secretary Humberto Mingorense has spoken several times in favor of establishing a national park in the province, so we hope to be able to move forward together.”

«National parks are the most important figures for the conservation of biodiversity, and they have also proved to be a big factor in economic development, which is why there is increasing awareness of their importance for environmental care and their potential for local development. Has been , In this sense, it is very valuable that Catamarca has started the process of creating its first protected area and that if the Uspalata project goes ahead in Mendoza Congress, for the first time in history, all provinces will have a national park”, Granato concluded.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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