I have always been a fan of the Surfrider Foundation and the wonderful work they do to protect beaches, coral reefs and coastal land. I appreciated them even more when I learned of the way they stepped up to protect a place very close to my heart- Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. My first year living in Rincón I fell in love with Tres Palmas and I have spent countless hours reading under the shade of its palm trees, I have enjoyed many excursions into the spectacular reef system, and it is my favorite place in the world- I even married my best friend in November of 2015 there. I have based a few of my paintings on it’s gorgeous scenery, but not too long ago this piece of land was in trouble.
“Since the explosion of tourism in the mid 1960s, Rincón has experienced strong social and economic changes. Formerly a people devoted to agriculture and fisheries, tourism is now the foundation of the economy. Rincón is today one of the most popular tourist destinations of the island, which has led to an accelerated development of its coastline. The absence of local planning zoning has enabled the development of hotel complexes and condominiums in the shoreline area. This type of construction causes erosion to the coast and this coupled with climate change and marine pollution is threatening the beaches, corals and biodiversity that depends on it.”
The Surfrider Foundation helped Rincon develop a management plan to help guide the conservation of their delicate ecosystem. The land surrounding the beach and the reef beyond are now a protected marine reserve and there are rules and regulations to prevent any abuse of the beaches, the coastal land surrounding it and the coral reef that defines the underwater landscape. I have donated art to many of Surfriders fundraisers both in Jacksonville and Rincon and I hope to encourage others to support this wonderful foundation and their ongoing work to protect the ocean.