Friday, December 1, 2017

Easter Island and CONAF – Then and Now

The National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) is a civil law entity dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture, whose main task is to administer Chile's forestry policy and promote the development of the sector [1].

Anakena in 1990

In 1990 there were hardly any rangers to be seen, especially at the remoter parts of the island. Paths were running across archeological sites. And there were hardly any signs stopping you from climbing the ahu or other parts.

Here you see my Japanese friend Toshiyuki, who is on top of one of the ceremonial houses at Orongo. I’ve been there, too. Other persons are also there. And the hotel owner dog is accompanying us. Moreover, we were not trespassing; the path was laid out on top of these buildings. Unbelievable, but true! The impact of 5000 visitors must have been meager, but with 100,000 visitors per year it is different. So CONAF changed a few things. They keep visitors off the ahu, well away from other archeological attractions. They’ve put off stop signs and/or lines, which shouldn’t be crossed. I’d say adequate measures.

CONAF imposes an entry fee of 80 US$ for visiting all the sites for five days, which is about the upper end of people staying on the island. The ticket is stamped at each site. Now, what about bad weather. If you want to visit the specific site a second time, you might be denied entrance. This is something that should change. Maybe the rangers shouldn’t stamp the tickets during pouring rain.

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