Panama Eco-park: a Protected Urban Forest
The 375-hectare Eco-park and surrounding areas located near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal have a long history involving pre-Columbian inhabitants, Spanish conquistadors, pirates, and Panamanian natives and immigrants associated with the construction and operation of the Panama Railroad and Canal. Some major 20th century events include building of the Rodman Naval Station, construction of the Bridge of the Americas, and the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaty transferring the Canal to Panama. Surrounding areas of interest include historical and archaeological sites, the middle of the 30,000 mile PanAmerican Highway, and the most visited tourist site in Panaman: the Canal's Miraflores Locks. A consortium of Panamanian natural resource management agencies has been developing Eco-Park to increase eco-tourism. Forest Service scientists helped to inventory the biodiversity of Eco-Park and develop management plans. The park is covered by semi-deciduous seasonal mixed forest. Flora and fauna are abundant - at least 378 plant species and 260 species of animals, including 40 mammals, 19 reptiles, 13 amphibians, 39 migratory birds, and 149 resident birds are found within the boundaries. Eco-park and surrounding areas, with their fascinating history, are conveniently situated along the Canal route and near Panama City. Eco-park offers numerous outdoor recreational opportunities to Panama's residents and Canal Area visitors.