[Above: Souvenir blue-footed boobies for sale in a Puerto Ayora shop, Galápagos. Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot]
A squabble over gift-shop tourist dollars on Santa Cruz island is now threatening to close the renowned, if often troubled, Charles Darwin Research Station, whose work is fundamental to helping keep the islands’ ecosystems as healthy as possible under difficult conditions, including soaring tourism rates. Please read my complete post on the topic at National Geographic Voices.
There has been an unfortunate history of distance between the Research Station and the Puerto Ayora community at its doorstep. One has to wonder: If there had been a geotourism stewardship council in place—with representatives from government, the Research Station, and the retail community all at the table—could this politically motivated impasse been avoided?