Gringos in the Cloud forest

The first quaker settlers moved to the Monteverde area to escape the increasing militarism of the United States.  When they chose the area of Monteverde they did so because the location was good for farming, had a more friendly climate and had fewer bugs. However, when they arrived in the cloud forests they quickly began cutting them down to make homes and clear land for livestock.  Large tracts of land were cleared to allow room for animals to graze and settlements to become established.  In fact, one of the quakers introduced and became the leading seller of the chainsaw in the country. This just increased the amount of deforestation that occurred.

With the help of some persuasive locals it did not take long for the settlers to learn the error of their ways and slow their efforts in destroying the forest and its inhabitants.  They quickly became more conservation minded.  As time went on the gringos integrated more and more with the Costa Rican culture. Overtime more and more people acknowledged the unique Costa Rican environment and wanted to experience it for themselves. As foreign interest in the environment increased they settlers of Monteverde began to get into the tourism industry so that they could show off the nature that they love and that they had begun to protect.

Today the country as a whole has increased sustainability programs to try and rebuild and preserve the rainforest.  At the Monteverde reserve there is a large portion of the forest that is secondary forest, as in it is being rebuilt after being cut down.  As more and more people become interested in the exotic plants and wildlife in the area the tourism industry has grown. As this industry has grown foreign investors have taken notice and begun to invest in it.  The foreign investment only stimulates and speeds up the growth of tourism in the area; more tourist attractions/resorts can be build and more marketing can be done to attract tourists and over time the quakers have shifted from being agriculturally focused to now being largely involved in ecotourism. Whether this is good or bad is subjective and opinions may vary person to person.   I believe that it is good because today more people are able to enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica’s environment and more is being done to protect and preserve it.



Leave a Reply