More than 20 years ago there was another plan for San Quintin: a tourism project was planned to be built and surely it would have affected the bay’s pristine beauty.
Terra Peninsular was created with the vision of protecting Punta Mazo, and it was a dream that took more than 10 years to culminate.
Behind that effort was a group of people made up of community members, scientists, conservationists, key stakeholders, and nature lovers who knew the importance of preserving San Quintin.
“In the mid-90s a tough test for conservation organizations appeared, now there was a new tourist development in San Quintin Bay. Our victory was resounding. A group of academics elaborated a technical opinion that contrasted the sustainable development of the bay against the negative consequences of the tourism project.”— Eduardo Palacios, Board member
In the late 1990s, this group of people learned that the Punta Mazo area (also known as La Punta or Punta Final) was going to be destroyed in order to develop a tourism project called Cabo San Quintin that contemplated building a hotel, golf courses, a marina and shopping malls.
Although this development would have brought economic benefits to the region, the project put the bay at risk because it did not include actions to preserve the wetlands, volcanoes, wildlife, or natural resources.
The group decided to ally with civil society organizations such as Pro Esteros, Pronatura Noroeste, and The Nature Conservancy to do something about it and find a way to stop the project.
After analyzing the situation, they realized that in order to prevent the area from being destroyed and to guarantee its long-term protection, the solution was to buy the property and create a natural protected area, but at that time there were no civil society organizations that could buy land for conservation purposes.
With the priority of protecting Punta Mazo, the civil association Terra Peninsular was created in 2001. The legal authority to buy land for conservation was established in the constitutive act.
Founding the organization was only the first step. After several years of negotiations and with the support of donations, the struggle culminated in 2012 with the purchase of the land.
To ensure that Punta Mazo is permanently protected, the property title has limiting conditions so that only activities to preserve habitats and wildlife can be carried out. This is also described in the certificate provided by the federal government.
After a long process to justify the natural value of the area, in 2014 it was certified as an Area Voluntarily Destined for Conservation (also known as ADVC) by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and named Punta Mazo Nature Reserve.
At the same time, other endangered natural areas in the San Quintin and El Rosario region were certified, and today there is also the Valle Tranquilo Nature Reserve and the Monte Ceniza Nature Reserve, both owned by Terra Peninsular.
What would have happened?
San Quintin would have been very different if the project had been carried out:
- Archeological remains of 8,000 year-old would have disappeared.
- Pollution and sewage discharge would probably have affected productive activities, such as fishing and oyster farming.
- Many native plants would have been crushed or removed from the site to construct buildings and golf courses.
- Migratory birds such as the black brant would not have a place to shelter and feed during the winter.
- We would not know that the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve is an important site for the study of insects, reptiles, dunes and plants.
- Also, we would not know that the Monte Ceniza Nature Reserve is home to the San Quintin kangaroo rat, a rodent that was thought to be extinct for more than 30 years.
- We would not have so many natural areas to connect with nature and enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping, biking, climbing volcanoes, etc.