Environment Minister Édgar Gutiérrez Espeleta said Monday he will hire 150 new park rangers to strengthen surveillance at Costa Rica’s national parks and protected areas.
Gutiérrez made the announcement during the celebration of National Parks Day and added that ministry officials also are working to improve recruitment in order to expedite the replacement of rangers who resign or retire.
President Luis Guillermo Solís said he fully supports the measure and added “much remains to be done, but we are making every effort to preserve Costa Rica’s most valuable resource, our national parks.”
Protected areas account for more than 25 percent of Costa Rica’s territory and most of the country’s main ecosystems are found within them. There are 28 national parks and 11 conservation areas, according to the Environment Ministry.
The country’s protected areas also encompass some of the biggest fresh water sources, and their natural attractions such as beaches, volcanoes and forests are some of the most visited by both domestic and foreign tourists.
August 24 was declared National Parks Day in 1984 when President Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez signed into law all decrees that created the country’s national parks.