|Construction equipment parked on an illegal road near La Calerain Bogotá's Eastern Hills. (Photo from El Tiempo/CityTV)|
|Bogotá's Eastern Hills provide a sweeping green |
backdrop for the city.
But the road's biggest impact may happen in the next years if the environmental officials do not succeed in removing it. That's because it'll enable the construction of homes and other buildings in the area, further destroying the forests.
The landowner who created the road sounded unrepentant, telling El Tiempo only that he wanted to be able to drive across his property to observe his cattle.
|The cable car station to Monserrate and the |
Virgin de Guadalupe statue behind.
This road is only the most recent attack on Bogotá's Estern Hills, which are protected by law, but where both rich and poor try to build houses illegaly.
But the damage to forests is only one fundamental tragedy of the Eastern Hills of Bogotá. Because of the area's isolation and the many rough neighborhoods along the base of the hills, the hills have a reputation for crime.
|A view of central Bogotá from the hills.|
We planned to do another hike the following Sunday. But on Saturday part of the hills caught fire and a family visiting their grandfather's ashes, which they'd scattered behind the Parque Nacional, was gunned down in a mugging gone awry. We canceled our second hike, and I haven't been back since.
I grew up in the San Franciso, (California) Bay Area, where we loved going hiking, bicycling and picnicing in the Berkeley Hills. Bogotá's Eastern Hills could be a similar wonderful resource for the nine million people trapped in the capital's stress, noise and pollution, especially for those who don't have the time or money to leave the city.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours