Florián, Colombia opens its windows

A few years ago, the town of Florián Santander, located in Serranía de los Yariguíes National Natural Park, in Colombia, was barely known. Today that is changing, and these changes are creating new opportunities for the people of Florián. I was fortunate to help make that happen.

In May, 2012, after I returned home from a trip to Brazil, my friend Miguel Ángel, contacted me with news about his recent visit to Floriån. He was amazed by its natural beauty and the possibility it offers for outdoor activities. His remarks about the place motivated me. I went there and was captivated by the place: climbing areas right next to the road, native forest, waterfalls, and the dream to climb limestone for the first time in my own country.  With other climbers, I visited the areas where the routes would be set up: many meters of limestone inviting you to climb on, hundreds of stalactites and tufas formed over millions of years came before us.

I had been to Brazil to attend a Capacitación Training Program put on by Acceso PanAm, an organization that works to protect climbing areas in Latin America. I thought that Florián presented a perfect opportunity to put into practice everything I learned at Capacitación, and at the same time try a new way to develop outdoor activities areas, while thinking about the climbing community as a whole.

So, we approached the local authorities, landowners and the local community. Positive outcomes take place when joining forces with other stakeholders. Benefits are felt not only by climbers, hikers, bikers, cavers, and other outdoors activities, but also by the town and its residents. The ball is rolling and good results have followed. The Access, Use and First Ascension at Florián Park Protocols are key regulations to promote the Park’s sustainability.

I remember Enthusiastically the days spent in Urca (where Capacitación took place), the place where, perhaps unintentionally, I obtained the knowledge that has facilitated the process in Florián. The lectures, some informal chatting, the experiences happened in other countries, the efforts of many climbers in Latin America and North America have become the key tools to inspire our work. The expectation to develop a sustainable climbing area is becoming a reality.

Today, Florián has four climbing areas, Ventanas de Tizquizoque, El Portón, La Cueva de los Chímbalos y los Nogales, and approximately 30 routes varying from 5.11a to 5.13c, besides many projects still left for a red point ascent. There are also some hiking and mountain biking trails. We keep working hard to ensure more possibilities to those wanting to enjoy the outdoors. We have helped protect our access while promoting our  responsibility.

Florián has opened its window, and it is left to us to keep them open!

An article by: Juan José Polanía.
Fotos del facebook de Florián

Note: Local climbers created two documents that facilitated the access (in Spanish):
Protocolo de Acceso y Uso del Parque Aventura Florián
Protocolo de Ética y de Prácticas de Equipamiento para Vias de Escalada en Parque Aventura Florián


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