New Addition to San Miguel Natural Reserve

July 14, 2010

Another 117 acres have been bought and protected at the San Miguel Natural Reserve east of San Juan, The Trust for Public Land and the government of Puerto Rico announced today.

Today's announcement brings to 529 acres the total amount of land protected at the San Miguel Reserve, said Mildred Ramos Majoros, TPL's Director for Puerto Rico. The $8.5 million purchase is TPL's third acquisition of land since 2007 for the San Miguel preserve, which is located 25 miles east of San Juan.

""This is a wonderful place and we are proud to help preserve it,"" said Ms. Ramos Majoros. ""Protecting this land means it will be available to all the people of Puerto Rico to enjoy, both as a place of recreation and for its wonderful natural beauty.""

Daniel J. Kercado Galan, secretary of Puerto Rico's Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, said, ""There are very high ecological, scenic, and ecotourism reasons to protect this land. We are doing this for the enjoyment of this and future generations.""

The San Miguel Natural Reserve is a mosaic of coastal habitats including coral reefs, more than one mile of beachfront, inter-tidal areas, wetlands, coastal dry forests, mangroves, the confluence of two rivers, and the remains of a 19th-century hacienda used for sugar cane farming. The reserve is home to the endangered leatherback turtle and 15 other species which are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The $8.5 million purchase price included $5.5 million federal funds, and $3 million from the government of Puerto Rico. The federal funds came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Before TPL's purchase, there had been plans for a large-scale resort and two golf courses in the San Miguel area. But those plans ran into public opposition, leading to years of controversy.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 3 million acres in 46 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations.