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Mirador master plan complete: To be unveiled at Guatemala's National Palace of Culture
The summit of La Danta pyramid at El Mirador with conservation work underway. La Danta is believed to be one of the largest pyramids in the world in volume. Photo: GHF.

PALO ALTO, CA.- After two years of collaboration with PACUNAM, FARES, and the Guatemalan government, GHF announces the completion of the Archaeological Development Plan for the Mirador Cultural and Natural System. It will be unveiled on December 8th at Guatemala’s National Palace of Culture in the presence of current and past government officials, diplomats, international agencies and foundations, archaeology experts, project managers, partners and friends.

The Archaeological Development Plan, available in Spanish and English, provides a framework for continued archaeological discovery and preservation of the Mirador Cultural and Natural system over the next 15 years, with the purpose of guiding sustainable tourism development. Local communities and the environment are expected to benefit from a strong relationship between tourism and stewardship of Mirador’s cultural and natural resources.

The Plan presents a clear management structure with specific geographic zones for wilderness protection, archaeological research and preservation, and sustainable development activities. It defines priorities for archaeological activities and visitor development within the context of these management zones. In particular, it proposes a Visitor Circuit that establishes the foundation for both preservation of resources and expanded tourism through the growth of local economies and infrastructure, as well as expanded education and stewardship for the Mirador Cultural and Natural System.

The Plan also offers details for an archaeological work program, showing how to invest in needed improvements for archaeological conservation and tourist infrastructure, manage the area in a sensitive, sustainable manner consistent with prior plans, and minimize threats to the precious resources in the Mirador Cultural and Natural System. A detailed set of objectives and strategies and a timeline for near-term (2011-2016), mid-range (2016-2021) and longer term (2021-2026) actions will guide implementation.

The Mirador Cultural and Natural System, spread across 810,000 acres, is a unique asset to the department of Petén in Guatemala, Central America, and the world. It is home to some of the largest pyramids ever built, including La Danta, the world’s largest pyramid by volume, as well as a unique causeway system linking the historic Maya cities in the region. Along with its unparalleled archaeological treasures, the region’s rich, diverse ecosystem includes orange-breasted falcons, jaguars, and other exotic animals.

The sustainable development of Mirador benefits not only local communities and the people of Guatemala, but anyone with an interest in world history. Studying Mirador will increase knowledge of the Pre-Classical Period and contribute to a greater understanding of Mayan culture. Increased tourism will have direct economic benefits for local communities thanks to local spending, with a positive ripple effect on the national economy as these impacts multiply. Guatemala’s government will also benefit as Mirador gains visibility and allows for leadership in Central America on archaeological conservation, sustainable tourism, and related development.

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