Lorena Castillo, owner of Ni’tun Lodge in Guatemala’s northern department of El Petén, recently wrote to us with some great news. After more than seven years of hard, often tedious work, Ni’tun has been deemed an official “private reserve” by CONAP (Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas), a government agency responsible for the conservation, rehabilitation, and protection of Guatemala’s natural resources. This is an important development for the property as it means it will now have government support in keeping out poachers and hunters and prohibiting deforestation.

Building off the momentum of Ni’tun Lodge’s recent success, Lorena is amping up her work with ARNPG (Asociación de Reservas Naturales Privadas de Guatemala) and APROBOSQUE (Asociación de Reservas Naturales Privadas de Guatemala) to help more landowners in El Petén create carefully managed private reserves. This careful management means, for example, that tourism is allowed, but environmental and green standards must be met. Orchards and ornamental plants can be grown, but mostly organic fertilizers need to be used. At a place like Ni’tun, which is located on Lake Petén Itzá, the local watershed has to be protected.

The goal of all this work is to help preserve and protect Guatemala’s incredible natural resources. At Ni’tun Lodge, the benefits of environmental sensitivity are already on view: Toucans have nested on the property for the first time ever, and howler monkeys are starting to call Ni’tun home.

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