|Every year since 1992 the BRASS project has gone for
a picnic at Chorro Falls at the end of the Chorro Trail, a wonderful
part of nature displayed on the eastern boundary of the El Pilar Archaeological
Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna. This small and delicate waterfall,
so praised as the destination of the Chorro Trail, has been completely
transformed by human ignorance.
It is with anguish and even grief that we look at the falls after
the destruction in 2002. Machete carved channels divert flow from
the once charming ponds. Now these water sources for the fauna are
cloudy and low, plastic bags and other trash are scattered nearby,
while plastic bits and soap scum cluster in the waning eddies of
a once clear pool. In short, there has been a total disrespect for
the nature of the place.
|Chorro is rich with the recent and deep past and has
always been a part of the vision for El Pilar. The clear waters of
this spring are the origins of Labouring Creek and flow into the Belize
River so threatened as a water source today by the clearing, burning,
and drying of the once bountiful forested hills.
|There is a small center to the west of the small falls
mapped by the BRASS project in 1987. The mounds and plazas attest
to the long time importance of the locale.
|Chorro was once home to some of the older members of the riverside
communities from Bullet Tree to Santa Familia, remnants of a sanctuary
for the Maya fleeing from incursions at the conquest and later a refuge
for the Maya of Yucatan's Caste War.
|Most recently, Chorro was the home of an old man named
Carmen. He and his cats nurtured the forest garden of Chorro, the
remains of fruiting avocado, lime, mango, cacao, and others still
persist. Carmen died in the late 80s leaving the place for visitors
to the reserve.
| This latest in the uses and abuses of the Maya forest
will be long recorded as the changes wrought are long lasting testaments
to human indifference and the need for caretaking the resources of