viernes, mayo 4

50 Years of the National Park…And a few Moons Back

It has been 50 years since Mexico's 'Diario Oficial de la Federacion' (where new laws and bills passed are officially published) published the act that would favor the conservation of a small but important area of the Sierra de Juarez by giving it a national park status. This area includes 5,009 hectares of forest that surrounds the beautiful Laguna Hanson, with the goal of protecting and conserving the natural resources and wildlife of Baja California; however this is not the beginning, this site has a much older birth date.

5.2 million years ago, under the Earth's crust, and enormous chain of magma chambers awoke from a long sleep to create the highest peaks of California, Baja California and part of Baja California Sur. The particles from this rocks, composed of different minerals, nourished the seeds that later became the beautiful coniferous and oak forests that we now enjoy. Afterwards, plant life would develop attracting even more biodiversity; birds, small mammals, reptiles and every type of animal adapted to the climate that the region would adopt due to its altitude and latitude.

Bottom-up shot from the pine trees that populate the Sierra de Juarez. Photo by Enrique Fuentes

Time passed, and the forests' soil received the first human steps on it, 4,000 years ago. The first indigenous groups arrived from the north in search of a natural refuge that would shelter them in the warm seasons, taking advantage of the generous home and abundant resources that forest offered them. Once settled in the surrounding areas, when the forest turned silent, human life was present again: the hermit Jacob Hanson, a Norwegian explorer that on his first expedition into the mountains, decided to buy a piece of land, and turned into livestock as the main activity to earn his living, and made a great deal of money doing so, until his success condemned him to death when some thieves took his life in a failed robbery. Up to today, the location of this man's fortune is still a mystery, but only his money, for he was immortalized when his lake was named after him and his life story is still remember and told.

The snow covered vegetation giving a calm and serene ambiance to the Sierra de Juarez. Photo by Enrique Fuentes

Many years passed after the loss of this person, until 1951, when the Sierra de Juarez was established as a National Forest Reserve and then in April 27th, 1962, the area received the status of "National Park" with the name "Constitucion de 1857"; a merit obtained after considering the area with special biological characteristics and with great ecological importance that benefits the surrounding populations. Its coniferous forests and chaparral ecosystems allow the continuity of the natural cycles and processes that are of great importance; it is also very important because it is a source of fresh water, purifies and produces vast quantities of oxygen, provides food and resources for the surrounding communities, and provides a space for recreation and contemplation to relax, reflect, inspire, heal and connect with the voice of Mother Nature.

It is because of these reasons and many others that Parque Nacional Constitucion de 1857 needs to follow the course into a happy history, one that we respect and contribute to the continuity of its vital existence.

The variety blues, greens, yellows, grays and whites that merge to give the Sierra de Juarez its magic. Photo by Ana Lucia Garcia Escalante

Happy Birthday Parque Nacional Constitucion de 1857! We invite you to stain up to date on the events in our agenda through our Facebook site: or calling the office at (686) 5545 404 Fax (686) 5544 505 or

By Fabiola Taboada

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