Project Status: Started December 2016
Contact: Lina Novoa
Email – Facebook – Instagram – Website
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
-To bring the outdoor community together in order to promote environmental awareness, waste management and good outdoor practices.
-To identify, monitor and protect wildlife in rock-climbing areas in order to inform the community and make us aware of the existing diversity in these areas..
-To support and facilitate negotiations in order to gain access and sustainable management to rock-climbing areas, through discussions and arrangements with the landowners.
-To further develop adventure sports and outdoor activities in a sustainable way.
RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
In Colombia the rock-climbing community has been increasingly growing, creating the need for a regulating entity which is able to centralize information, promote good practises and act as an intermediary between the outdoor community and the landowners in order to avoid closings climbing areas, because this growth is not been developing in a way that is sustainable over time, since there are areas where waste management is non-existent, there are accidents because of poor climbing practices and other actions that landowners to close their income to the climbers. Edenes de Colombia’s contribution would be to help protect designated areas with education programs and management activities.
Climbers and mountaineers of all ages needs to be aware of the importance of caring for the environment, promoting good practices and environmental awareness. This is why we are implementing a culture of conservation of nature, through campaigns promoting good practices in outdoor sports in the community around to rock-climbing areas and indoor climbing gyms. If we unite, we can strive for the right to access into those areas.
An example of these contributions are the educational activities realized on December 2016 and 2017 with children and youth in Suesca, one of the biggest rock-climbing areas in the country. Edenes de Colombia offered books and information to a community who has yet to benefit from the growing sports tourism in their area, and to get to know them as a community that we need to included on this management.
We are working with the local and the climbing population on the climbing areas around the country with basic principles of good practices through workshops and educational campaigns in climbing gyms and outdoor sports shops. Regarding the relationships with landowners, we are currently negotiating agreements to obtain access by offering to manage the site (management plan, signalization, rules manual and payment agreements). We are currently forming the LOA (Local Organizations for Access), composed with climbers and landowners, united in order to take care of the education processes.
In addition to social and cultural contributions, Edenes de Colombia seeks to help in resources conservation. The 32 (and counting) climbing areas of Colombia are situated in various ecosystems boasting a high rate of biodiversity. We want to get to know the flora and fauna better in order to protect this ecosystem decreasing the impact as much as possible.
Last year we create the first general protocol for climbing areas in Colombia, is a big step for our country because we reunited a very big group of climbers that agreed to work as a community and create a document to regulate a sustainable climbing. After this, we want to adapt this protocol on each climbing zone with their unique characteristics.
BEYOND ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’
Edenes de Colombia is the first project in the country attempting to unite the community in the protection of current or potential rock-climbing areas. The outdoor community needs to understand the importance of taking care of the sites they visit and enjoy, commit it to their protection. Those areas have specific flora and fauna as well as rupestrian art, all of it sensitive and vulnerable. It is necessary to work together to solve main problems such as the lack of unity in the outdoor community, the unawareness of the importance of environmental protection, poor waste management, growing numbers of climbers, safety issues and more.
With the development of this project, we expect the local communities will benefit from the increase of athletes and from being part of the management process, the touristic development and the education of children and youth. The project will foster the development of sports and ecotourism and the climbing community promoting a culture of caring and respect of mountain environment. It will also create employment in the following areas: land and access management, route-setting and re-equipping, natural resources conservation, flora and fauna biology, ecotourism and education.
This will be made possible through:
Environmental and experiential education projects for local children and youth to encourage sports, health, peacefulness and respect for the environment. It could take the form of running sessions, biodanza, readings, bird watching or rock climbing.
Access and land management projects in private lands: conciliation, negotiation and agreements with the owners to access into rock-climbing areas.
Inventory and management of flora and fauna in every climbing zone.
Programmes and campaigns for education, signage, reforestation and trail building.
United outdoor community
– Creation of LAOs (Local Access Organizations) in rock-climbing areas: local leaders, route-setters and climbers.
– Call for member registration in the foundation.
– Provide information through social media
– Invite the participation of climber and other outdoor enthusiasts
– Machetá’s LAO established (4 members)
– Creation in progress of Zipaquirá, Choachí and Florian’s LAO
– New members in 2018
– Active social media: Facebook, website, Instagram
Conservation of flora and fauna species present in climbing areas
– Protection programs for nests, located in crags, bats, insects (bees and wasps) and native vegetation in each climbing area implemented through signage and information campaigns
Flora and fauna data published and widely shared
– Study of flora and fauna in climbing areas
– Publishing and promoting information about Flora and fauna
– Knowledge of bird species present in Machetá
Promotion of ecotourism in each area
– Compilation of information about each area (distance, lodging, eating, climate, etc.)
– Printed and online database of routes (guidebooks for climbing, trekking and mountain biking)
– Signage and trail demarcation
Inclusion of local children and youth
– Environmental educational programs based on outdoor sports and biodanza
– Educational program in the rural district of Santa Rosita, Suesca, Cundinamarca: book donations, activities and movie
– Propositions pending for other areas (Florián, Choachí and Zipaquirá)
Safe and organized access to rock-climbing areas
– Dialogue, access agreements and negotiations with landowners
– Obtain access through management and education proposals, including: registration, signage installation and trail building campaigns, monitoring the state of climbing equipment (re-equipping), information, etc.
– Dialogue with the owners of climbing areas like Machetá, Zipaquirá, Suesca, Florián, El Peñol and Abejorral,
– Access management proposal in process.
– Dialogue over a project proposition with the mayor’s office in Florián, Santander.
– Climbing routes compilation: climbing guidebook design for the Machetá area.
– Climbing guidebook design in process for the Zipaquirá area, Cundinamarca.
– First-aid workshops in climbing gyms (Zona de Bloque, Bogotá)
The funds necessary to the realization of these projects are collected through the following fundraising strategies:
Donations (from individuals, companies and government)
Sponsorships (outdoor shops, brands, tourist operators)
Financing (funding institutions, international organizations, municipalities)
In all the climbing areas of Colombia (over 32 already developed and many more to explore), it is possible to work in collaboration with the local communities to improve projections regarding participation in outdoor sports and environmental care.
This project aims to centralize information on a virtual platform (climbing and trekking guidebooks) so everybody could access it and participate actively in any project or education campaign. LAOs (Local Access Organizations) can establish a link between local climbing communities, route-setters or other contributors and the local citizens. This link would allow the promotion of the different activities of protection and conservation in the climbing areas.
This project is fully inclusive, meaning that everybody interested in any project is welcome to participate. In the rock-climbing areas, the interested locals will get training in guide work and tourist management, so they can improve their skills and knowledge and make use of the potential in their area. In Florián, Santander, in cooperation with the municipality, a program will be offered to the local population interested in improving their knowledge in tourism, climbing equipment handling and specialized guiding (trekking, bird-watching, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking). The objective is to boost economy and encourage healthy habits in each area using their characteristics and possibilities. The ideal would be for everybody to participate (service providers, tourist operators, youth, climbers, outdoor enthusiasts, customers, brands, town hall, etc.). This way, we can expect a significant development of the outdoor sports culture and raised awareness of the importance of caring and protecting our mountains.