El Pilar is more than an archaeological site and eco-archaeological
destination; it is a community. As you explore the trails of El Pilar,
you become part of that community. The resources of El Pilar are part
of an enchanting cultural legacy left by the ancient Maya, shared
by the Maya Forest community, and now conserved for posterity by the
development of benefits and responsibilities for contemporary neighbors
of El Pilar. The community-based organization of Amigos de El Pilar
in Belize and Guatemala has teamed up to create an association that
is investing in the future of El Pilar.
|To accomplish the important goal of improving living
standards and the self-sufficiency of the region's villages and towns,
the long term-agenda of resource conservation and sustainability must
include the immediate and short-term needs of local families.
|No reserve exists within a vacuum and for the El Pilar
Program model to be fully achieved, the local population needs to
maintain an active voice in the process. Local communities are the
ultimate custodians of their history and environment. Our task is
to prove they also are the ultimate beneficiaries.
|The goal in the formation of the cooperative association,
Amigos de El Pilar, is to develop community enterprises in tourism
and agriculture, exemplified by the Be Pukte Café and Cultural
Center and the Masewal Forest-Garden Trail in the village of Bullet
Tree Falls. These local craft enterprises increase cultural links
and economic stakes in the reserve while incorporating the makers'
wisdom into the vision for El Pilar.
|Through education and participation in program activities, the links
between the community and the reserve strengthen investments in conservation
and administrative responsibility. Their accumulated accomplishments
promote conservation efforts both locally and regionally. The leadership
role the community is assuming and the self determination they are
gaining in the process is the foundation upon which the future success
of the El Pilar model depends.
||Be Pukte is Mayan for Bullet Tree Road. The Be Pukte Café
and Cutural Center is conveniently located on the Bullet Tree Road
south of the bridge on the way to El Pilar. They welcome your patronage
and will cheerfully tell you about their participation in the El Pilar
Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna.