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Ciudad Perdida, Colombia 2012 Project Progress Report

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  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

    2012 Project Progress Report

  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    Executive Summary 2012 was another successful and exciting year of progress in and around the site of Ciudad Perdida in the Santa Marta Mountains of northern Colombia. Crucially, a Master Conservation Plan was completed and adopted by the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), while a Management Plan was also accepted by this governmental body. Conservation activities onsite were focused on emergency intervention efforts to stabilize high priority structures identified during threat assessment studies conducted in 2011. These activities included restoring walls in danger of further collapse and improving water runoff problems that destabilize many of the structures across the expansive site. Community development initiatives also continued in 2012, with a third Wilderness First Aid course conducted for trail guides and others living and working in the area. A White Water Rescue course was also held for guides and guest lodge personnel, with rescue equipment provided to the guest lodges. The ongoing program of installing residual water treatment systems at guest lodges along the trail to Ciudad Perdida was advanced with the installation of a system at the newly built Ricardo Reyes Lodge, thereby making the lodges more eco-friendly and reducing impact on the river and surrounding environment. Additionally, in the village of El Mamey, a vegetable garden was established at the village school in support of the ecological club started there the previous year, and culinary training was provided to a number of women restaurant owners in order to help them cater to the visitors they receive. Finally, a comprehensive biodiversity survey was conducted along the access trail to Ciudad Perdida, which determined the high density of animals living in the area. A number of endemic species were identified, as were a number of species classed as in danger and vulnerable. Remote camera traps also captured images of large species such as jaguar, puma and margay felines. From these studies a Trail Wildlife Guide was prepared and distributed to the guest lodges covering nearly 40 of the mammals, birds, butterflies and amphibians that visitors might come across. At the end of the year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Colombian Park Service to create an interpretation center at the trailhead town of Machete, add more interpretive signage along the trail to Ciudad Perdida, and fund conservation work at the coastal site of Pueblito in Parque Tayrona. A new MOU was also signed with ICANH to continue the successful conservation program underway at Ciudad Perdida. The indigenous Kogi people continue to be primary stakeholders in this project and are consulted regularly to gain their input on project plans.


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    2012 Project Progress Planning A complete Master Conservation Plan was completed by Catalina Bateman detailing short, medium and long term conservation activities, threats to the site, and administrative improvements. The plan has been received by ICANH, which began implementation in 2012. Catalina and the conservation team carried out activities up to the beginning of November.

    Above: Presentation of the management plan at the Gold Museum in Bogota. The Management Plan designed by Juan Felipe Pérez was completed and accepted by ICANH by the end of July. ICANH began public discussions of this management plan in August of 2012 with a presentation at the Gold Museum in Bogota in September 2012. A final draft including GHF designed maps was handed in to ICANH’s library in December. Juan Felipe also handed in a final hard copy to GHF at this time. Further survey work is planned for 2013. Survey and conservation teams conducted structure by structure photographic documentation and assessment, which is intended for inclusion in a master database documenting all interventions to any structure (both conservation and


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    research). All conservation activities were extensively documented by the conservation team and appear in their reports. GHF teams also conducted groundtruthing and relocation expeditions to nearby sites which have been added to the Upper Buritaca maps and documentations. Adjacent sites such as Garage 1 and 2, El Muro, and B-201 were relocated, assessed for recent looting activities and placed in the available satellite imagery and Digital Elevation Models for the basin. Conservation Conservation activities for 2012 were focused on urgent work on the high priority structures identified by the conservation team in the threat assessment carried out in 2011. This included the following activities:

    Restoring partially collapsed walls, leveling drip and flagstones, foundation rings and surfaces in five structures (of the 34 identified as high priority)

    Addressing a water runoff issue affecting structure No. 126 and No. 129. Uncontrolled runoff is coursing over these structures and has seriously affected them.

    Above: Before (left) and after (right) views of a cleaned and stabilized stone staircase.


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    The team led by Conservator Catalina Bateman completed all planned work for 2012 covered by our MOU which ended on June 30, 2012. The conservation team completed additional work during Semester 2 funded by ICANH.

    Above: Conservation team members working to improve drainage around a platform.


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    Community Development Following the approval of funding by Patrimonio Natural Conservation Landscapes Program, 2012 saw another successful year of effort in community development in and around Ciudad Perdida. A third Wilderness First Aid course was held for the guides and other community members to increase safety for themselves, their families and visitors to the area. For additional safety, a White Water Rescue course was conducted for 25 guides and guest lodge administrators; as part of this program, rescue equipment was also installed at all of the lodges. This is particularly important as a foreign tourist lost his life in the Buritaca River near to a guest lodge in 2011. The installation of residual water treatment systems at guest lodges along the trail also continued in 2012, with a system put in at the newly built Ricardo Reyes lodge. These systems are having a significant impact on preserving the natural environment and protect the Buritaca River from uncontrolled dumping of untreated waste water. The project also continued its support of the ecological club at the school in the village of El Mamey and included establishing a vegetable garden. Culinary training was also provided to 18 women restaurant owners in the village.

    Above: The community vegetable garden being established in the village of El Mamey.


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    A major achievement in 2012 was the completion of a suspension bridge built across the Buritaca River at a critical – but dangerous – crossing point near to where a French tourist died in 2011. Funded by the Conservation Landscapes Program, Fondo Patrimonio Natural USAID, the bridge allows visitors and the area’s inhabitants to cross the river safely at all times.

    The bridge under construction (top) and in use by an indigenous Kogi woman (above).


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    Finally, a comprehensive biodiversity evaluation was completed for the trail aimed at determining tourist impact on fauna, producing a wildlife guide for the trail, and capacity building in wildlife and bird observation with local guides. The evaluation determined that at present visitation levels (8300 visitors per year), impact is minimal and can be handled quite easily. The evaluation document was given to the indigenous community and foundation, National Park Service and ICANH to be used as an essential management tool. Among the most important results were:

    • Identification of 16 species of amphibians, including 7 endemic to the area.

    • Presence of 3 species of toads classified as in danger by IUCN, and 1 as vulnerable.

    • 213 species of resident birds, including 6 endemic ones identified. • Presence of 2 vulnerable species of birds, and 1 classified as almost

    threatened • Confirmed presence of 15 species of medium- to large-sized

    mammals in the basin. • 4 species of felines photographed: Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, and

    Margay. A comprehensive Trail Wildlife Guide with photographs and data sheets for 37 different species of mammals, birds, butterflies, and amphibians was printed and delivered to all lodges and participant institutions.

    Above: A puma captured on film by a motion-sensitive camera in June 2012. © Paisajes de Conservación - FIAAT / zona de influencia del Parque Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta / Equipo FIAAT-SELVA-PANTHERA Colombia


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report

    Partnerships An MOU with the Colombian Park Service was signed in November to provide expertise and funding for an interpretation center at the trailhead town of Machete, trail signage, and direct and fund conservation work at Pueblito in Parque Tayrona. Additionally, a new MOU was signed with ICANH to continue the conservation program at Ciudad Perdida. The project also continues to work closely with the indigenous Kogi communities to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed at all stages of work in community development and conservation intervention.

    Above and Top: Project plans being presented to the Kogi community.


  • Ciudad Perdida, Colombia – 2012 Progress Report


    About Global Heritage Fund GHF’s mission is to save the Earth’s most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries and regions through scientific excellence and community involvement. Founded in 2002 by Dr. Ian Hodder of Stanford University Archaeology Center and Jeff Morgan, GHF is the only non-profit international conservancy working exclusively in developing countries, where there are many threatened heritage sites but few financial and technical resources and little expertise to scientifically conserve them. GHF goals include:

    • Preserving structures and physical evidence of cultural heritage • Advancing education about, and protection of, endangered heritage sites • Advancing community involvement and benefits from preservation

    Our work takes each selected heritage project through a process called Preservation by Design, encompassing master planning, scientific conservation, community involvement and partnerships to provide enduring protection, management and financial support. GHF currently has 12 projects in 10 countries, including China, India, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru and Turkey. While the nature and depth of each of our projects differ, one theme runs throughout: that the monuments, art and architecture of our ancestors can, if respected, bring lasting cultural, social and economic benefits to civil society. GHF’s mission is to help people realize the value of these assets in places where the sites are all too often neglected – or worse. GHF invests in countries and regions that have seen few financial or technical resources for cultural-asset preservation and development. Holistic and effective preservation of cultural resources requires extreme care and planning to make preservation economically viable to local stakeholders. GHF goes beyond heritage conservation: We provide catalytic funding, site planning and technical training for local people to become capable stewards, giving them the opportunity to contribute more easily to their families and communities. GHF’s projects also have benefits that surpass their primary conservation and development objectives; our work holds particular significance because the monuments that we select are rich symbols of national identity and patrimony. For more information on GHF’s mission and projects, see:


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