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Bosque Alto
The fight to save a forest

Text and Photos ©2015 by J. Pint

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Salvemos el Bosque
You can help save the Bosque Alto Forest, no matter where in the world you live. Just click HERE to sign the petition.

 Razor wire

"Forest fires don't destroy forests, but fences do," an environmentalist told us. This fence with razor wire was put up in Bosque Alto even before construction was started. Photo courtesy of Salvemos el Bosque.

Stairway to Bosque Alto
Stairway to the Bosque Alto.

worked obsidian

Countless pieces of obsidian tools were found in the Bosque Alto, indicating there were important obsidian workshops here.


Wildflowers dot the hillside.

Doomed trees

Arrows indicate: chop down all trees to the left and to the right.







85 Neighborhoods join together - You can help too!

By John Pint

Golden meadow, doomed by developers - Photo: SalvemoselbosqueRecently, members of an organization dedicated to protecting the Primavera Forest led me up a long, long staircase towards the top of a high hill at the northern edge of the beautiful community of Santa Anita, a residential area south of Guadalajara. Upon reaching an altitude of 1750 meters (5,740 feet), we came to a lookout point with an incredible view of the Tlajomulco area framed by shadowy mountain ranges in the distance. From here we hiked into a part of the Primavera Forest I had never known existed: rolling hills filled with oaks, pines and glorious grassy meadows. To me, this little piece of paradise looked pristine at first glance, but, curiously, almost every tree I could see had a small round splotch of gray paint on it. “That's the mark of death,” my companions told me.

I was told that those spots indicated trees to be cut down—5000 of them, mind you—and that this healthy 62-hectare forest will soon disappear, paved over with concrete and asphalt. I was amazed. Here was one of the last thriving bits of Bosque la Primavera, separated from the main body of the forest by a distance of only 2.4 kilometers and instead of creating projects to conserve it and perhaps turn it into a park, recreational area or even Tapalpa-style cabins in the woods, these “developers” had quite something else in mind.

Trees marked for death

John Pint with trees marked  for death (small grey paint spot).

My companions were members of Salvemos Unidos el Bosque la Primavera (Together Let's Save the Primavera Forest), an organization of people from around 85 neighborhoods who describe themselves as “tired of waiting for something to happen.” If you read Spanish, you may want to check out their web page at Salvemos El Bosque.

I asked one of them what was in store for the woods all around me: “The project is called Bosque Alto or Santa Anita Hills,” he told me. “The designers are Guadalajara's Gómez Vázquez Aldano Architects (GVA). The developers (investors and sellers) call themselves Tierra y Armonía and they want to fill most of the land with multi-story apartment buildings and wherever tall buildings are not possible, there will be small lots, measuring only 8 by 28 meters, barely enough room for a house and a parking space.”

My informant went on. “This beautiful forest falls within the transition zone around the Protected Primavera Forest, which UNESCO declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve (MAB) in 2006. According to UNESCO, only low impact development (low density, ecologically sound) should be permitted in this transition zone, but somehow the developers have obtained permission for this disastrous program which, ironically, they call 'eco-living.' There is a strong suspicion that there are serious irregularities in their permits.”

View from Bosque Alto

The spectacular view from Bosque Alto.

“On top of that,” he added, “according to Pedro Alcocer of Anillo Primavera, 35 percent of greater Guadalajara's well water comes from rain falling on wooded areas like this one. But, thanks to this housing project, instead of adding fresh water to the aquifer, this hilltop will soon be contributing pollutants to it...and close to one thousand families living here will add at least 2000 new cars to the hordes of vehicles trying to enter Avenida López Mateos every morning.”

In a chat under a canopy of tall oak trees, I learned that my informant grew up in Santa Anita. He says, “As a kid, I explored these hills and I've always felt it was a real privilege to have a forest in my back yard. I've seen deer in these trees right around us, and lynxes and foxes and skunks and raccoons. I would spend hours here just watching a spider, looking at all the minute details of it. To see all of this disappear would be a real shame.”

If you also think it would be a real shame, there is a quick and simple way you can show support for the people trying to save this woods, even if you live thousands of miles away from Mexico. Just go online to salvemoselbosque.mx which will immediately direct you to a special page on Change.org where you can add your name to over 10,000 others in favor of halting the projected Bosque Alto housing development. If you don't speak Spanish, just go down to the very bottom of the page and click on English, which will make it easy for you to understand a couple of boxes you must fill in. Change.org is cleverly set up to alert local, national and also international organizations about wide-scale support for worthwhile projects that deserve to succeed. The Washington Post, by the way, says “Change.org has emerged as one of the most influential channels for activism in the country.”

New schemes to modify, reduce and “citify” Bosque la Primavera keep popping up all the time and ecologists find it hard to fight back. This time, the members of Salvemos Unidos el Bosque have made the task easy. I urge you to spend a minute signing their online petition.

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