WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

Mission Statement: 'We create jobs and other beneficial activities in a well-organized eco-tourism company whose goal is the conservation of our forests for future generation, respecting the values of the community members. '

In 1976, following the reform of the agrarian law, a group of landless peasant families decided to buy the land that is now part of the Santa Lucia Reserve. They formed an agricultural cooperative and began to clear areas of the forest in order to turn them into crops. Living and working in the forest was very hard; the steep soils, long distances to the market places, but satisfactory for families who for the first time owned a piece of land. They were able to make a living.

However, after being deforested, the land of the cloud forest degraded rapidly, and the environmental problems resulting from this way of agriculture became evident. In 1988, the area was declared part of the Protective Forest making hunting and logging illegal, which threatened families in their survival. The members of the cooperative started looking for other ways to make a living with their land and in the 1990s, they decided that ecotourism would allow them to protect the forest and generate income. In 1999 they began to build the lodge with fallen tree wood. Trails were built within the reserve with the valuable help of volunteers and other organizations such as: Maquipucuna, Rainforest Concern and Quest Overseas of the United Kingdom, thus the ecotourism project was born.

Santa Lucía TODAY

Comunity

In a region where employment opportunities are scarce, our goal is to provide jobs and a modest income for community members as well as for other people from the locality. We ensure that local people receive constant training and can perform various job within the organization. For this reason we are proud to say that Saint Lucia is a true community capable of managing their own resources. We strive to extend benefits for the community through: Our work practices, environmental education and the volunteer program. We believe that Saint Lucia is a model, both locally and internationally, of what can be achieved in terms of conservation, sustainable employment and the development of a community organized and managed by its own people.

Conservation

In spite of the preventive legislation, hunting and land invasion is common in the Protected Forest areas of Ecuador. What marks the success of Santa Lucia is that local communities respect the limits of the reserve. People do not hunt nor cut down the forests. In addition, through the reforestation program and with the support of volunteers, we have planted native trees on twenty hectares of degraded land in the reserve.

More information

Please have a look at the document for more information on responsible tourism!

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