Natural Protected Areas in Baja California

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This information was updated in February 2021

By Verónica Meza and Antonieta Valenzuela

In Baja California we can find terrestrial and marine natural areas with high biological richness and environmental value, these areas have different protection categories.

Currently there are over 500 natural protected areas in Mexico that represent over 90 million hectares. This is part of the efforts of the federal government through the Commission of Natural Protected Areas, also known as Conanp. 

These area the protected areas in Baja California:

  • 3 national parks.
  • 2 flora and fauna protection areas.
  • 4 biosphere reserves.
  • 11 areas voluntarily destined for conservation.
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10 Things To Do in San Quintin

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Por Antonieta Valenzuela y Vitza Cabrera

Discover the natural attractions that San Quintin offers: beaches, dunes, wetlands, volcanoes and nature reserves where endangered wildlife is protected.

  1. Visiting the wetlands.
  2. Walking the Monte Ceniza trail.
  3. Visiting the oyster fields.
  4. Taking photos at the Mirador Valle Volcanico.
  5. Eating at La Chorera.
  6. Taking photos of the sunset on the beach.
  7. Climbing the Sudoeste volcano.
  8. Camping.
  9. Surfing.
  10. Learning about the protected natural areas.
Volcán Sudoeste
Sudoeste volcano in the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve. Photo by Alejandro Arias.
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On the Fire Line

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Text and photos by Chris Ives

Fire moves through diverse landscapes on all corners of the earth, from the Siberian tundra to the African savanna, the pinelands of North America, to the Australian bush. As humans, we are destined to live with fire whether we choose to or not, and as a result there will be people who devote their working lives to solving the unique problem of managing fire.

Brigadistas forestales
Photo by Chris Ives.

In the United States, we have a well-developed fire fighting force with over 100 years of experience and 100 years of mistakes from which we are constantly learning. In the late 1940’s, the first hotshot crews were formed in southern California as a result of a need for a more professional standing firefighting force. It is said that the term “Hotshot” was derived as a result of these well-trained crews being deployed to the hottest parts of the fires on which they were serving. In the following decades these programs developed and became more standardized. 

Brigadistas forestales
Photo by Chris Ives.

Today, there are over 100 Type 1 Interagency Hotshot Crews in the United States. These crews are made up of 18 to 22 individuals who are mostly temporary seasonal and permanent seasonal employees. During a typical six month long fire season, hotshot crews will respond to dozens of fires working 1,000 hours or more of overtime. The typical schedule while on fire assignment consists of 16 hour of work each day for 14 or even 21 successive days, after which they are given 2 or 3 days off to recover before returning to on-call status for fire assignments. 

These fire assignments require long days of digging a fireline, cutting trees and brush, and burning off vegetation to stop the spread of fire, and putting out or “mopping up” fire that has been contained, all of this often in a country that is too steep or remote to send other resources. Sometimes there are days of staging, waiting for the next assignment or for the fire behavior to change and allow crews to safely engage the fire. These days when you are left with your thoughts can be just as taxing or exhausting as the days of high physical demand. 

Brigadistas forestales
Photo by Chris Ives.

Much of the work of the hotshot is not glorious, many of the crewmembers joke that when there is a fire that requires a lot of suffering, they call a hotshot crew. Despite the rigorous work schedule, demanding physical labor, and long periods of separation from family and friends, there is a strong bond and sense of achievement that forms on these crews because of what they have had to endure. 

How Many Nature Reserves Are in San Quintin?

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By Antonieta Valenzuela

Baja California is a unique place where you can find a variety of landscapes: sandy beaches, mountains, pine forests, wetlands, matorral, agaves, volcanoes and amazing sunsets. Due to urban growth, these natural areas are more vulnerable; the habitats of thousands of plants and animals are in danger of being destroyed.

Our mission is to protect natural areas, and one way to do it is through a certificate by the federal government known as Area Destined for Conservation. In the region of San Quintin and El Rosario there are 4 nature reserves certified in this category.

Volcán Sudoeste en la Reserva Natural Punta Mazo
El volcán Sudoeste está en la Reserva Natural Punta Mazo. Foto por Antonieta Valenzuela.
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Why Are Trails Important?

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By Vitza Cabrera

Roads or trails are the beginning of an adventure. They are the trace that marks the course that will take us from one place to another, allowing us to discover and giving us the possibility to reach new heights or enjoy new landscapes. 

If we think about it, roads are part of our daily life. They allow us to get from our house to the market or to visit a friend. They give us the possibility to transport ourselves without much hassle. 

Turismo responsable en San Quintín
Trail in the Sudoeste volcano in the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve. Photo by Dzoara Rubio.
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How To Prevent Forest Fires?

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Did you know that 9 out of 10 fires are caused by human activities? Learn how you can help prevent wildfires when you go camping or hiking in natural areas.

Remember that in Baja California the fire season is between March and November, the most critical months are June, July, August and September.

We live in a semi-arid area with grasslands, which increases the chances of a fire spreading. And during the summer, in wooded areas there are usually thunderstorms, which are the main causes of natural fires.

six camping tents in forest
Foto por Snapwire | Pexels.com
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Activities To Celebrate Wetlands

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Last week we celebrated World Wetlands Day, and one of the activities we did in San Quintin was an outdoor display of the art exhibition Travesía: una mirada al mundo natural de San Quintín. The collection includes photos, acrylic paintings, embroideries, and stories, all of which are inspired by the natural beauty of San Quintin.

Actividades del Día Mundial de los Humedales 2022
Photo by Mirna Borrego.
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Rest in Peace, Ernesto Franco

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A plaque was installed in the Monte Ceniza Nature Reserve to honor Ernesto Franco.

February 4, 2022

Message by Alan Harper, founding board member

Terra Peninsular lost a great friend last week. Ernesto Franco Vizcaíno was a founding board member of Terra and a friend of many of us.

Ernesto was a professor at CICESE and at California State University at Monterey Bay. Ernesto dedicated his life to the conservation and discovery of Baja California. He introduced me to the blue palm oases of the Sierra San Pedro Mártir and later we walked up Arroyo Matomí, where our first morning we saw mountain lion tracks next to our campsite — tracks that had not been there the night before when we got into our tents.

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Tips for Being a Responsible Tourist

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We need natural areas! These are places to enjoy outdoor activities and to be in touch with nature. Visiting these places is a great responsibility, since as tourists we can have a positive impact on the place we visit.

Photo by Dzoara Rubio.
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Nahuales and the Protectors of Baja

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Interview to Sócrates Medina by Charlotte Vizzuett

  • Tell us more about who you are and your career as an artist.

I grew up in Tijuana and went to elementary school in San Diego. I graduated from Architecture and then I moved to Los Angeles, where I found a ceramics studio and I began to pursue my project. That’s where the Perro y arena project began. I have been working on it for several years now, and a few months ago I decided to concentrate one hundred percent on this project, and learn more about ceramics, and the different techniques.

Photo courtesy of Perro y arena.
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