The National System of Conservation Areas (Sinac) filed a complaint with the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) for an alleged illegal felling of 28 trees on the canton road that leads to the Barco Quebrado beach in Samara, Nicoya.
According Sinac’s findings during a field visit on March 21, the felled trees were of native species such as ceiba trees, West Indian elm trees, yellow mombins, pochotes, strawberry trees, Gliricidias, rose apples, oaks and sonzapote trees.
Sinac’s Miguel Ángel Jiménez said that the trees were cut down without the proper permits.
“Article 62 of the Forestry Law establishes one to three years of prison for anyone who builds roads or paths on forested land or uses equipment or machinery to cut, extract and transport anything that isn’t approved under the State Forestry Administration plan,” the document says.
Committee and City Hall Say They Only Cut Branches
According to Sinac’s complaint, The Barco Quebrado Roads Committee was responsible for cutting down the trees.
Sinac reported that 28 trees like this one in Barco Quebrado were cut down.
The committees president Francisca Castrillo denied the allegations and said that the committee followed Nicoya city hall orders and only cut branches off the trees that were invading the road. She said they never cut down trees.
“We never cut down 28 trees, only two and the rest was trimming branches,” Castrillo explained.
Castrillo added that the reason for this is because in rainy season, access via that road becomes practically impossible.
The head of Nicoya’s Technical Road Management Unit, Julio Lopez, confirmed that city hall ordered the committee to cut the branches down in order to install drains in the coming weeks and repair the road, not to cut down trees.
“We had a bidding process to patch the road (the canton route that leads to the beach) and dig ditches for drains. The committee was only authorized to cut branches,” Lopez said.
A Sámara resident whose last name is Fregosi told Sinac that the work done by the committee led to individuals cutting down more trees and stealing the wood during the night. According to the resident, this impedes determining precisely who the guilty party really is.
For now, the complaint is being analyzed by the OIJ to determine if any laws were broken in the process and who is responsible for felling the trees.