The Quakers in Monteverde

Without the quakers, Monteverde would not be the same. The Quakers came here in the early 1920’s and immediately saw the importance of the land. Although they cut down a large bit of the trees in the beginning, they later built it back up. One cannot start a community if they do not have any space. If the Quakers did not make an effort to rebuild after their chopping, the land would be drastically different. They conserved the land, did not allow conflict or any other power to deter them from their goal of living in peace and keeping the mountain healthy. If other colonizers discovered the lush, biodiverse mountain they may have taken saws to the trees and began developing the mountain into a community with no regard to the land they destroy in the process. Like our tour guide said today, the forest we walked in is more than 100’s of thousands acres big; without the Quakers’ early conservation and rebuild efforts, the forrest may or may not be there today. I believe the Quakers were certainly a benefit to the mountain; the early settlers saw the importance of conserving the land and the mountain would not be the same today if others discovered Monteverde first.

The land on Monteverde is very beautiful and could easily be seen as a great opportunity to make some money off their gorgeous views. However, in the view of the Quakers, the shift to ecotourism is negative. It makes them venture from their core beliefs and work as farmers. The Quakers want to farm and keep the land as healthy as possible. However, others see the gringos as a business opportunity. Those opportunist exploit the land to send a thrill down foreigners’ backs. They don’t have any real incentive to keep the land healthy, as long as it passes the eye test to an ignorant gringo, it is good to go. On the other hand, I’m sure the economy has received a large boost and the community has benefited by brining in people willing to spend money to the mountain. The local stores have certainly benefited, but the Quakers are getting strained with money while the farming industry is dying in Monteverde.

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