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After the announcement by Jesus Sierra, Director of Panama’s Tourism Authority (ATP), about the agency’s plan to erect a cable car system to the top of Volcán Barú in Chiriquí, environmental groups began to voice their opposition to the plan with claims that the project would cause “irreversible loss of biodiversity.”
The project is estimated to cost $30 million and would cover 10 km of distance and include parking lots, an “ecologic” park, gift shops and other facilities, all of which would require evaluation from the National Environment Authority (ANAM). The proposed construction site is being studied, including areas of the Volcán Barú National Park and the La Amistad International Park, shared with Costa Rica.
Ezequiel Miranda, president of the Association for the Conservation of the Biosphere, points out that the project would pose a visual change that would damage the primary forest with its towers and cables. Portions of the area are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and as biosphere reserves. It is habitat for a number of endangered species and eight hydrographic basins.