by Jessica Erickson, Grade 11, The Blake Schools
The impact of tourism on the Rosario monarch butterfly reserve near Angangueo, Mexico is both positive and negative.
Tourism brings money to Angangueo and a neighboring town, Ocampo. It provides for some jobs for campesinos who are able to work as guides so they can make more money. Yet, the tourists arrive only during a short part of the year (five months), so the jobs are not year round. At this point in time, only one sanctuary is open to the public. Therefore, tourism has not been enough to replace the forestry industry which once supported many campesinos, nor the mining industry which once made Angangueo a thriving town.
Currently, the Rosario reserve, which is the one open to the public, is in a crisis. Scientists have told us that the development of this reserve for high levels of tourism is entirely inadequate. When we visited on February 4, the reserve received over 4,000 tourists! This is an enormous number of people to control with- in the reserve, which has only one or two trails leading to and from the current location of the colony.
A major problem is soil erosion. Another is the trampling of butterflies by the masses of visitors. Talks are currently underway to try and resolve this situation. On February 5th a holiday, 3,000 visitors were expected to visit the reserve. In addition, the visitors arriving in cars and buses adds to the problem of pollution.