Hate Mail!!

I received the following message on my Facebook. It needs little introduction other than it concerns the volatile situation in Leatherback National Park:

“who are you? do you live on Grande, Palm Beach, or Ventana? you know nothing about what you proclaim in newspapers, or other publications you whine in. the residents who live on these beaches watch the trutles wash up with nets around them and plastic bags in their throats dying from the long shore fisherman. we have lived in peace with the turtles, protect them during their nesting time. where do you people come from? are you being paid by the corrupt Leather Back Trust? they have no goals here but fiancial gain with NO concern for the turtles. what a sham you all are. if the POOR Costa rican goverment can raise $800,000,000 to purchase this land, we will all leave. Read the CAFTA bill that protects our constitutional rights as property owners with titled property. there is NO national park until the governement purchases the land FOR FAIR MARKET VALUE.

My response:

“Hi _____, I agree we must expropriate, and in order to do this, everyone must agree upon the fair market value you wrote about. My question is, how can land in a national park, land that’s only fit for conservation purposes because of vulnerable underground aquifers (according to SENARA), be valued at $800-$1200 a square meter? We must reach some kind of agreement over its “fair” value. With this decision in hand, I’m prepared to begin raising the funds through international conservation channels.

Regarding dead sea turtles on the beaches, sadly unsustainable fishing practices lead to high leatherback mortality rates. Let me ask you, have you ever tried to get a fisherman to change his ways? It’s tough. Now try getting a fleet of international long liners operating in multiple maritime jurisdictions to adopt sustainable fishing methods. Even tougher, though we’re trying. So what can we tangibly do to improve the future for leatherbacks?

The technical data shows that in the 70’s and 80’s there was 100% nest poaching on Playa Grande, etc. Under the parks protection that % has been reduced dramatically. So, we know that the national park is doing exactly what it was decreed to do, protect leatherbacks. And unlike revamping international fishing laws, this IS something that Costa Rica can do right now to save sea turtles. So now the question remains, how does the country save this park and continue doing everything in its immediate grasp to protect this species? By having both parties (you and me) agreeing on a $$ amount and then going out there and finding a way to purchase the properties.

It’s a daunting task, and fighting gets us nowhere but closer to a dismal future. I’m not anti development, rather I support a long term vision that conserves the planets natural resources and allows modern society to progress.  _____, I hope you stayed with this dissertation of sorts because I truly want to work together and be modern pioneers in this process.

I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on all of this.

–Oh, to answer your ?, I live in San José, work as communications director for Pretoma, and am getting my masters in natural resource management.


Andy Bystrom”

One Response to “Hate Mail!!”
  1. Turtleman says:

    Well I have been working in Costa Rica for 11 years and know what land is worth. I own two pieces of property myself and know many many real estate agents working in the Guanacaste. I also know what the Costa Ricans sold for, and what the extranjeros want now, I think it is pretty rediculous. I think it is a bad trade off for Costa Ricans when someone buys a piece of property for x dollars and then holds them at ransom for a million x if they want to have thier most endangered species protected adequately. $1200 a meter is the most ludicrous offer I have ever heard but then again you have to consider the people you are dealing with that have no other real concern than making a mountain of profit off a bad situation.

    I love your tact Andy but I doubt that this person will ever be reasonable, and so I comment with extreme experience in the area. The truth is that the Leatherback turtles are in extreme danger and development will push them into extinction — you don’t need a million dollar survey to see that if you just know that truth.

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