When Dr. Dodson bought the mountain land for FunaVid over 10 years ago most of it was degraded cattle pasture, though little patches of forest remained. He allowed the forest to regenerate. Now there is attractive forest cover on much of the mountain. A rough road runs through part of this and FunaVid are extending it to become an interesting eco-tourist trail. This will provide income for the local people, some of whom have already expressed an interest in becoming guides, and a local lady has been taught the skills of preparing meals for the tourists. The clean water that has been brought down from the mountain springs will be a great asset for this.
Charles Barber, Rainforest Saver chairman, taking a photo of the rainforest on the FunaVid Mountain, and a large heliconium flower growing wild in the forest. Photos Tiiu Miller 2010.
Tourism will provide an incentive for the preservation of the forest for years to come. The whole area can also serve as an educational facility for Honduran school students and CURLA (university) students and professors, all of whom have made much use of this facility. The plan is to make a trail up the mountain and this has been enhanced by the planting of 7000 tropical trees, including fruit trees which will attract toucans, monkeys and other birds and wildlife. The trail will end at the large Inga demonstration facility high. It will serve to publicize the Inga to potential donors and users of this excellent system, as well as the Inga itself being an interesting tourist attraction.
Intern students at FunaVid working in the tree nursery. Photo Dr. Dodson 2011.
CURLA graduate students have been working with the nurseries and have planted a variety of trees on the mountain. They have been very well motivated and helpful. Many tree seedlings were provided by CURLA, and three CURLA professors, those involved with the forestry, wildlife/environmental preservation, and eco-tourism departments, have all been assisting in the project with valuable advice and help.
The completion of the road has been delayed due to unseasonal heavy rains throughout most of 2013, which make working on the mountain dangerous. Nonetheless a lot of Inga planting has been done, and more will follow.
There is a champa (shelter) well up the mountain and this will be made into a place to rest, with provisions taken up to it. There is a lovely view over the sea from there.
The little white thing is a champa (shelter) where tourists could be taken. Photo Tiiu Miller. 2009
The champa will be extended and furnished, and toilets, hopefully of an environmentally sound design, such as compost toilets, will be added.
A champa .Photo Tiiu Miller.2009
View from the champa. Photo Tiiu Miller.2009
Many fruit trees are being planted next the champa so that tourists can sample fresh tropical fruit straight from the tree.
An iguana and toucan that wondered on to the FunaVid premises. The toucan flew into a window, but recovered and flew away. Photos Rick Seal 2012.
The monkey that looked in through the window at FunaVid. Photo Zoie Goebel 2013.
There was a small, rather derelict, unused building on the FunaVid premises lower down the mountain. This has now been extended and converted into a four-roomed tourist house. FunaVid employees made the building blocks themselves, and the structure is made with sufficient steel to be resilient when there are earthquakes. There are small en suite shower and toilet facilities, all supplied with the clean water that has been brought down from the mountain. The eco-tourist trail can be entered from next to this house, but also from a little shop in the local community.
Accommodation for tourists or students and professors. Photo Tiiu Miller 2013.