The Caribbean National Forest Newsletter
volume Issue I Fal 2006
Volume I, Issue I Fall, 2006,
Welcome! To the
inaugural issue of El Bosque
Pluvial (The Rain Forest),
your Caribbean National
Forest's new quarterly
succeeding issue will be
packed with useful facts
and interesting stories
about America's only
tropical rain forest and its
employees, who work so
hard to provide a
meaningful and enjoyable
experience for our visitors
from all over the world.
INSIDE THE FALL
CNF's Blanca Ruiz
receives R8 "Interpreter
of the Year" award.
Congress approves El
Toro Wilderness Area
In Caribbean NF.
Computers for Kids!
CNF donates surplus PCs
to local schools.
Jeff Walker, Heritage
completed in forest's
From the Forest Supervisor's Desk:
"Sustainable Resource Management and the Caribbean NF"
Recently, I was asked by
an interviewer from our
Washington office: "What
does the Caribbean NF do
to foster sustainability?" I
replied that I consider
sustainability the single
most important and
relevant issue facing
national, state and private
forests today; but, since I
am prohibited from
working outside the
National Forest System, I
foster sustainability on the
island by helping the
Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico to maintain vital
ecosystems by assisting
them in their
and by providing them
with educational and
technical assistance. By
doing so, I can be confident
that any agreements made
between the Caribbean NF
agencies are correct and
will stand the test of time.
In addition, when private
lands border a forest or
other vital socio-ecosystem, I
try to help landowners
comprehend the importance
sustainability by illustrating
the potential danger to
sustainability implicit in
Because my budget is
limited, I have no funds to
spare for private lands
projects, I reach out to
communities and influence
landowners by collaborating
organizations. Together, we
map out our separate areas
of responsibility and get
vital jobs accomplished.
Social, economic and
present many challenges to
Caribbean NF Supervisor
management of our island's
Urbanization is creating a
huge social impact on
communities near the forest.
Not too long ago,
were mostly rural, with rural
values and customs.
Recently, a new and
different set of urban values
(Continued on page 3)
EXCITING NEW ATTRACTION AT EL PORTAL
RAIN FOREST CENTER!
The Caribbean National
Forest's El Portal Rain
Forest Center has
something brand new and
exciting for you and your
children to enjoy!
El Portal Director Jose R.
Ortega recently announced
the installation of four
Dioramas in the
Forest" pavilion, on the
center's upper level. Each
wildlife figures portrayed
(Continued on page 2)
PAGE 2 EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL VOLUME I, ISSUE I
Alternate Transportation Mode for
Caribbean National Forest Studied
The goal of the Caribbean NF is to In 1997 both agencies contributed Since then, the results of the
Provide safe, stress-free access to $150,000 to employ a local studies have been discussed in
it's recreation areas. engineering firm to study the public meetings, with technical
problem in depth. Their analysis, committees, special interest groups
The forest has a greater capacity to Transportation and Access Study and with the PR Tourism Company.
accommodate people than it does for the Caribbean National Forest The final study will be completed in
vehicles. PR road 191 provides looked at 20 years of forest road September 2006.
access to the forest's recreation usage, population growth and
area; it is narrow and winding, increased forest use. It Final public meetings were held in
quickly congested with cars and recommended an Alternative July 2006 and the Preferred
buses during peak visitation. Transportation Mode as the Alternative Transportation Method
preferred means to address both was identified.
In cooperation with the local
In cooperation with the local current and future capacity and
Department of Transportation. We congestion on the PR 191 recreation Stay tuned! We will keep you up-to-
analyzed traffic and congestion with corridor. date on this important story in
a transportation study We future issues of El Bosque Pluvial.
concluded that we had neither the A second study was performed
technical data nor the expertise to under separate contract that
provide a meaningful analysis. identified further alternatives.
Caribbean National Forest's Blanca Ruiz earns Southern
Region's prestigious Interpreter of the Year Award!
On August 8, 2006, Blanca Ruiz most significant. Each regional
was notified that she had been winner is eligible to be nominated
awarded the prestigious for the national "Gifford Pinchot
"Interpreter of the Year Award" in C Euai ithsor Excellence in Interpretation and
the Forest Service's Southern a Conservation Education" award,
Region. which is presented at the annual
National Association of Interpreters
Each year the award is given to the meeting, to be held in November in
person whose contributions towards lan Albuquerque, New Mexico.
the advancement of the interpretive
profession or the field of WELL DONE BLANCA!
conservation education was judged
EXCITING NEWATTRACTION ATTHE EL PORTAL
RAIN FOREST CENTER!
(Continued from page 1) the lifestyles of these tiny forest oret pror Cru a
Forest Supervisor, Pablo Cruz says:
in carefully crafted replicas of their animals. We are very pleased to offer these
When you leave the center, you can new nature dioramas; we are sure
Ortega suggests that you bring your add to your enjoyment by hiking the they will give our visitors important
children along; together you will exciting El Portal Nature Trail. By and exciting insights into the lives of
discover lots of "neat stuff' that you now, you and your family will have these small animals that are such an
didn't know before about the forest's developed a closer bond with the important part of the Caribbean
tiny lizards, coquis and invertebrates. "real" animals you encounter on the National Forest's ecological family."
You'll get a special, "insider's look" at nature trail!
VOLUME I, ISSUE I EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL PAGE 3
From the Forest Supervisor's desk:
Sustainable Resource Management
(Continued from page 1) and use of drugs in our neighboring Puerto Rico has always had a policy of
are beginning to impact the old rural communities, sustainable development. Because
values. Urbanization, in particular Regarding environmental forces, there polarization creates so many
the rural-urban interface has begun is a huge polarization between problems, government does a poor job
to foster huge conflicts between urban environmentalists and developers, in trying to consolidate environmental
and rural systems. Another pressing National environmental groups such and developmental values.
social problem is related to economics. as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace
Unemployment on our island is at 10 have local affiliates here. We are not Well, I'm out of space. I've enjoyed this
percent. Compared with at all excluded from the opportunity to share some of my ideas
unemployment figures from other environmental politics of the with you. Be sure to read El Bosque
Caribbean island, that's quite low. mainland United States. There is an Pluvial's winter edition; among other
But the Caribbean NF is located on ongoing battle between subjects, I'll share with you how the
the northeast end of the island where environmentalists and developers that Caribbean NF helps developers use
a naval base that was a primary typically converges in the government, open spaces in a sustainable manner.
source of employment was closed two The environmentalists, the developers
years ago. The closing of the base and the government often work at
resulted in a 20 percent increase in cross-purposes. Whichever group can
unemployment in the northeastern exert the most influence on the other
corridor. As a consequence, we have groups can usually see their plans or
seen an increase in crime and the sale desires implemented.
El Toro Wilderness Area designated by Congress
On Jan. 19, 2006, Agriculture generations to come and preserves the forest. It is the first ever federal
Secretary Mike Johanns marked the natural condition of the land, providing wilderness area in a tropical forest,
designation of the first tropical outstanding opportunities to enjoy an and is also the first wilderness area in
wilderness in the Western unconfined wilderness experience." a Puerto Rico forest.
Hemisphere, the El Toro Wilderness,
part of the Caribbean National Forest The Caribbean National Forest Act of
in Puerto Rico. 2005 designated nearly 10,000 acres of
the Caribbean National Forest and the
"The El Toro Wilderness represents Luquillo Experimental Forest as a o a ae
an area of unique ecological and wilderness area, more than one-third of
biological diversity," said Johanns. the forest's 28,000 acres. The El Toroue oo l
"This wilderness designation will help Wilderness is named after the highest i i
to protect critical habitat for mountain peak (3,524 feet) in the
Computers for Kids!
Recently, the Caribbean National Forest Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz indicated that Forest is particularly committed to helping
donated 14 surplus Personal Computers to the computers, all in excellent condition and our surrounding communities by sharing the
three schools in local communities. The ready to use, had recently been replaced by burden of educating our children; it is vitally
schools receiving the computers were the newer, updated units. Cruz stated that the important to teach our children the
Pitahaya Community School, the Georgina President's Executive Order number 12999 tremendous value of our natural resources,
Baquero Community School and the allows federal agencies to donate excess and to show them how it is possible to act
Antonio Rios Secondary School. equipment to educational institutions with together to conserve them for future
the stated objective of "raising student's generations."
All three schools are located on the island's knowledge of new technology."
northeast corridor, in areas adjacent to the
Caribbean National Forest. He noted that "the Caribbean National
PAGE4 EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL VOLUME I, ISSUE I
CARIBBEAN NATIONAL FOREST rFOc ST SODTLIJGHT
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL In this issue we focus the FCOR ST SCTLIGHT on Jeff
Walker, the U.S. Forest Service Heritage Resources
Pablo Cruz Archeologist at the Caribbean National Forest.
Forest Supervisor Dr. Walker has spent over 25 years working in
Caribbean National Forest the Luquillo mountains in northeastern Puerto
HC-0 I, Box 13490 Rico. He is an acknowledged expert in lithic
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625 .
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625 technology (the making of stone tools) and in the
Phone: 787 888 1810 interpretation of petroglyphs (writings on stone)
Fax: 787 888 5622 of the island's aboriginal Taino people. The Taino
Email: Icruz@fs.fed.us are thought to have inhabited Puerto Rico for
over five hundred years before the arrival of
Columbus on his second voyage of discovery.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimi-
nation in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political Jeff was born in Pullman, Washington in 1951. As a youngster he
beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all moved to Puerto Rico with his family. His father was a professor of
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabili-
ties who require alternate means for communication of pro- entomology at the Mayagiiez campus of the University of Puerto Rico,
gram information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should and his mother, an anthropologist, taught at the Inter-American
contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and
TDD.)To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Direc- University in San German.
tor, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call
202-720-5964 (Voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity Young Jeff was exposed to Puerto Rican culture and became fluent in
employer and provider. Spanish at an early age. He obtained his baccalaureate degree at
Antioch College in Ohio and his masters and doctoral degrees at
AWashington State University.
Jeff, his wife and daughters have a lovely home in the Luquillo
mountains which they share with Manoa, their Labrador retriever.
Caribbean National Forest Customer Survey
During the summer months, you Service performed a similar survey It will also provide Forest
may have noticed Forest Service in every forest in the Federal Supervisor Pablo Cruz with an
employees stationed at nature Forest System. We performed the estimate of each year's number of
trailheads and along roads in the survey again to update the visitors to the forest and what our
Caribbean National Forest's information and look for new visitors like to do while they are
recreation area. They were recreational trends and ideas. We here.
wearing bright orange vests and will use the data we collected to We also need to know how
were standing near a sign that improve forest planning and to satisfied they were while they
read: "Traffic Survey Ahead". help us be more informed about visited us.
the needs of our local, mainland
They were waiting to talk with our United States and foreign visitors. The results of the survey are being
visitors, who were politely asked to compiled; when they are
pull over and grant them a brief completed, a report will be written.
interview. These interviewers were Check future newsletters for more
specially trained for this task; details.
visitors were asked to relate their
impressions about their visit to the If you have any questions about
national forest. The survey was this survey, you can visit the US
voluntary, and visitors were not Forest Service recreation website
asked to give us their names. .,,,I at http://www.fs.fed.us/
Five years ago, the US Forest
Caribbean NF Staff interviewing visitors Thanks for your interest!