Los Picachos Mountains and the Allende Dam: on the Way to Being a Natural Protected Area

By Jesús Aguado

White-tail deer, skunks, wild cats, and mountain lions could be protected by the state government if the Picachos and the Allende Dam are appointed as Natural Protected Areas (NPAs). Before a group of local entrepreneurs, the State Institute of Ecology presented the studies conducted to legally protect these areas.

David Guzmán, representative of the Ecology Institute, advised that between July and August this year, the project will be published online and will be available to the general public as a citizens’ consultation to obtain the pros and cons of appointing these areas as protected areas and to receive ideas about improving the project. After the consultation, if most people are in favor of the project, the Ecology Institute will send a document to Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez requesting him to decree these places as Natural Protected Areas.

Guzmán also commented that if these zones were protected by the state, the ladrilleras (kilns for firing bricks) would not be allowed in the area anymore, and those currently operating would have to be relocated. He also advised that appointing these zones as NPAs could put the project connecting the road to Querétaro with the road to Celaya at risk, “but the Institute would give favor to the interest,” he said. If the places receive the protected designation, all local regulations will be discarded, and only state laws will apply to the zones.

The conducted studies found a lack of regulation of the land, in housing developments and in the touristic sector. “There is a violation of the law,” the document stated. Another problem that the study found was the illegal extraction of petrous material, pollution of water, and clandestine cutting down of trees. The company hired to conduct the study concluded also that there are touristic activities just to benefit certain entrepreneurs and construction of developments without benefit for communities surrounding the area.

If the areas are designated as NPAs, the changes in land use without authorization from the state government and the construction of new housing developments will be prohibited. With authorization from the state government, however, industrial activities could be developed in the area. The extraction of petrous material and wildlife from the area will be forbidden or regulated. Fishing will also be regulated.

On the other hand, environmental investigation or sustainable tourism will be permitted. The Ecology Institute will regulate recreational and touristic activities and regulations from the National Commission of Water will control the use of water.


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