Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
Eco-Protests in Mexico
$1.9 Billion Project Called
Eugene Airport: Half of all its passengers fly United.
Environmental groups are up in arms over the
ongoing construction of a series of marinas along the Baja
The $1.9 billion project, dubbed Escalera Nautica (“nautical
ladder”), was begun in February 2001 by Mexico’s Federal Tourism
Promotion Fund (FONATUR), the same group that sparked the
development of Cancun in the 1970s.
Plans call for about two dozen marinas on both shores of Baja
California and on the western coast of the mainland. In addition,
FONATUR is building 10,000 hotel rooms along with meeting
facilities, golf courses, and airport and airfield expansions. All
work is expected to be finished by 2015.
Opposing groups say the construction would be an enormous waste
of public funds. “No one I know wants this to happen,” said David
Simmonds, president of the Sea of Cortez International Preservation
Among the concerns for Baja’s ecosystem are that the increased
development and maritime traffic will pose dangers to migrating
whales and sea turtles.
In response to critics, Escalera Nautica director Alejandro
Rodriguez said FONATUR is investing in the preservation of the
natural area. Seven ecotourism parks will be built, he noted, and
the planned hotels and golf courses will be eco-friendly.
• JONATHAN VATNER
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