So the burning question in my mind is will the zip line be finished before Easter so that CEDES (Comision de Ecologia y Desarrollos Sustentables del Estado de Sonora) can try to make some money out there or will it get shut down by PROFEPA (Mexico’s EPA) very shortly. If the issue is new to you here is a quick recap. CEDES is the state governmental agency that has control over the management of the Estero El Soldado. CEDES is in charge of conserving the area and they content that the only way that they have been able to conserve this Unesco World Heritage Ramsar site is by building several zip line towers, two new palapas and a straw bail rectangular structure called the (Casa Ecologica). One of the many problems with the project is that CEDES used federal money that was supposed to be for conservation and spend it on development. That in itself my have been illegal but what CEDES did after that was instead of getting an environmental impact study that is required by law for construction with
in an ANP or Area Natural Protegido (national park) that also happens to be an archaeological site they just started building. In Mexico we have a saying, “es mejor pedir perdon que permiso” or in simple English “it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission”.
The construction of the towers pissed off many locals, no one more so than Victor Maldonado who belongs to a non profit group called Guaymas Tu Puerto. Octavio Llano was also on the war path. Mr. Llano owns the land directly next to the estuary and the last thing he wants to see out there is a theme park style zip line. Victor and Octavio Llano along with Leon Perera a local congressman with his eyes on the mayors office next election cycle went to Mexico City last February and met with and lobbied Guillermo Haro Bélchez who is the mero mero, head kahuna at PROFEPA. The team from Guaymas demanded that PROFEPA make a ruling on lawsuits that were filed which seek to close the project once and for all. Mr Bélchez by the way was just here in San Carlos on Tuesday inspecting the estuary and the towers. I suspect he spent some time in Hermosillo as well looking over the zoo up there that has been embroiled in controversy for quite a long time.
What ever the final resolution will be it is certain that confidence runs high on both sides of the fence. Victor assures us that the project is dead and that the ruling will come any day now and CEDES could very well just ignore a ruling against them and continue to move forward on the construction. It may come to a head very shortly and I am sure that before semana santa there will be a definitive answer as to whether the zip line stays or goes along with the other structures that were not properly permitted and when it does we will certainly be there!
An update to the update
I just received a phone call from Victor Maldonado of Guaymas Tu Puerto, in which he confirms that he has received notification that the Zip Lines are dead in the water as of this moment. He also mentioned that during the inspection by Guillermo Haro Bélchez of Profepa a group of Roseate Spoon Bills was spotted in the Estuary. The delegado explained that these birds would be in great danger of flying into the cables that CEDES was actually installing at the very moment of the inspection. We hope to have a copy of the official paperwork soon but no more construction will be allowed on these towers. I was also informed to please notify PROFEPA if any new work begins out there on the towers.
So there you have it. But remember here in Mexico just because you got a favorable ruling does not mean that the governor will abide by it. So I would please ask members of the community, especially those who live out there to please keep an eye on those towers and if you see new construction on them please let us know. It is anyones guess when they will be torn down but they can not be completed legally!
In the slide show below you can see the sign on the one of the palapas that reads CLAUSURADO which essentially for the moment anyway means CEDES just took a hard punch to the body!