The Reserve was founded in 1996 with the acquisition of one property of 364 hectares. Today it spans 960 hectares of protected land in the Nicoya Peninsula. In this tropical forest, many rare and endangered species coexist. The reserve is a vital sanctuary not only for the species that live there but also protects the essential springs and water sources for the entire Nicoya region. Five local communities receive the water from our beloved reserve, including the island of Venado. In the beginning, the property was composed of cattle ranches and land for subsistence farming. With the help of birds, bats, the wind and other mammals, the seeds from the surrounding forest spread throughout the reserve to help the natural regeneration of the forests. Today, after 20 years, the existent secondary forest is the best way to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with the hopes of reducing the effects of climate change. Moreover, the reserve is a vital part of the biological corridor of the Peninsula.
Karen Mogensen Reserve
The program is focused on spreading knowledge about environmental protection to the surrounding communities. Our main activities include planting trees, delivering workshops about recycling, educational hikes with students of local schools and the yearly celebration of the World Environment Day, which has had more than 1,000 participants in the past.
Forest Fire Brigades
ASEPALECO trains men and women to combat fires during the dry season. The Nicoya region is at the highest risk for forest fires in Costa Rica, due to its dry climate for the majority of the year. The brigades are a group of volunteers trained to combat and prevent forest fires around their respective communities. The volunteer forest firefighters consist of men and women from the communities of Paquera, Lepanto, Cobano and the Chira Island.
The research station was inaugurated in 2012 as a result of a partnership between ASEPALECO and the Italian organization Gev Modena Foreste Per Sempre. Aiming to facilitate biological and meteorological research in the Karen Mogensen Reserve, the station offers infrastructure to study the effects of climate change and create baselines of the biodiversity to compare it to future conditions. The process of natural succession happening in the reserve for the last 20 years provides a great environment to study the processes of forest recovery and of carbon fixation. We welcome researchers, professors, dissertators, groups of biology students, and other groups interested in studying nature and the environment.
Cerro Escondido Ecolodge
Nestled in the heart of the Karen Mogensen reserve, lies the beautiful “Cerro Escondido Ecolodge," where visitors are welcome year round. In the ecolodge, there are several rustic cabins, each with a private bathroom and a terrace with beautiful views of the forest. The cabins are powered entirely by solar panels. Arnulfo and Mery are local guides and cooks that care for the facility and offer guests all they need for an unforgettable stay. There are miles of hiking trails within the reserve that lead to the ecolodge, and which visitors can enjoy throughout their stay.