Bosqueterno S.A. map 1992 by Linda Mather

Bosqueterno S.A. owns 554 hectares of forest that occupies the northeastern corner of the Province of Puntarenas. (It is known as Property #20227 in the Puntarenas Registry Book 2188.) The land sits above and to the northeast of the community of Monteverde. It has an elevation of 1500 m near the waterfall at the entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and rises to 1859 m at Cerro Negro and 1843 m at Cerro Amigos. The land is mostly steep slopes of primary tropical cloud forest, with small areas of intervened or secondary forest, and a flat swampy area known as Chomogo.

 

The Continental Divide runs from the northwest to the southeast of the property. The majority of its spring waters flow to the Pacific via the Quebrada Cuecha. The stream becomes the Rio Guacimal just below Monteverde. The Quebrada Cuecha, named for the rusty color of the tannin-induced swamp waters from which it flows (think fine wine aged in oak barrels), has a series of five waterfalls over about 75 feet within Bosqueterno S.A. The headwaters of this stream are the main water supply for the community of Monteverde.

Other major streams of Monteverde are the Quebrada Máquina, flowing to the Pacific, and Quebrada Leona, which flows east from the swampy flat waters of Chomogo, joins the Peñas Blancas River and drains to the Atlantic. The swamp is considered an important tapir habitat and one of the few areas on the north side of the Peñas Blancas River where these animals can be found, though the early years of land clearing and hunting reduced the population.

One of many trails crossing Bosqueterno land

The original trail in the area was maintained by people with squatter homesteads in the El Valle area. Over the years more trails evolved – along the ridge, over Chico’s Mountain (Cerro Amigos), and into the headwaters of the Quebrada Cuecha and the Rio Negro on the north side of Cerro Negro. Once the Monteverde Reserve was established in the early 1970s, the trail system expanded using these early routes: Sendero Chomogo, S. El Valle, S. Rio, S. Pantanosa, S. Torre, S. Bosque Eterno and S. George Powell are all trails developed and maintained by employees of the Monteverde Reserve.

The valley protected by Monteverde Reserve and Conservation League - Bosqueterno land is to left

In 1978, the Peñas Blancas Valley was decreed a National Forest Reserve by the government to be protected under Costa Rica’s forestry laws and this put a damper on further development throughout the valley. This helped to protect the areas surrounding Bosqueterno and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. Much of the valley is under the protection of the Monteverde Conservation League and known as the Children’s Eternal Rainforest or BEN.

On the top of Cerro Amigos (the towers)

The only structures within the property are on Cerro Amigos where there now exist nine communication towers as well as a small housing complex for the employees who maintain the site. There were originally two towers, Canal 7 and Canal 13. In the late 1970s, the government threatened to expropriate the Bosqueterno land to erect a repeater tower for the government-owned Canal 13 without permission or remuneration. They began tractor-work to build an almost vertical road up to the tower site. In the meantime, the Tropical Science Center decided to denounce MOPT, the government department in charge of the road-building, for invasion of private property. Eventually, they negotiated a lease for a monthly fee with the Department of Education (which was in charge of the national television station Canal 13) for the use of the Bosqueterno S.A. land.

 In 1984, the TSC negotiated a trade with Holts Van Patten, a private impresario, who erected a repeater radio tower to be used by the Monteverde Reserve’s patrol guards and maintenance crew in exchange for the construction of his own tower.

In 2007, a small plane disappeared in the middle of Bosqueterno. The guards from the Monteverde Reserve had to search deep in the forest to find the crash site. The pilot was killed and they carried his body out, while the remnants of the plane remain, buried in the vines and vegetation, near the trail to El Valle.