The goal of the Salvemos Baulas (Let’s Save Leatherbacks) campaign is the consolidation of Las Baulas National Park as a model protected area in Costa Rica. As a global leader in ecotourism, Costa Rica must ensure that development is carried out in a well-ordered and sustainable manner that safeguards the ecological integrity of the protected areas sustaining the national economy. TLT’s cross-disciplinary campaign joins business leaders, park officials, local communities, government representatives, academic and scientific institutions, and members of the press to improve awareness of the threats leatherbacks face and to support Las Baulas National Park.
The Salvemos Baulas campaign successfully challenged draft laws (17383, 16417, 16908 and 16916) proposed under the administration of Costa Rican President Arias Sanchez (2006-2010) to reduce or downgrade Las Baulas National Park.
The boundaries of Las Baulas National Park are defined to include land 125 meters above the high tide line. Illegal construction and clearing of land for real estate development threatens the integrity of the park. The Leatherback Trust has helped Las Baulas National Park acquire additional land through purchases, conservation easements and donations by concerned landowners.
Park regulations prohibit the cutting of vegetation to protect the beach from erosion and maintain a biological corridor between the dry forests in the coastal hills (e.g. Morro Hill); the coastal vegetation of Grande, Ventanas and Langosta beach; and the mangrove forests that surrounds the estuaries (e.g. Ventanas, San Francisco and Tamarindo). The dry forest ecosystem is particularly vulnerable to impacts from development, especially depletion of aquifers in the alluvial zone. A study by Dr. Mario Arias from the University of Costa Rica demonstrated that accelerated real estate development threatens quality and quantity of groundwater in the Tamarindo Estuary, Ventanas Estuary, Playa Grande and Tamarindo. This study further underscores a need to restrict development within the boundaries of Las Baulas National Park and large parts of the buffer zone.