Monte Pirata Project Breaks Ground in 2022!
The Monte Pirata observation platform and trail project is moving forward thanks to approximately $20,000 in contributions from local donors made through Ticatove, the Friends Group for the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge(VNWR). In 2021, the VNWR complemented those donations with money from their regular budget, and by an additional grant from the Regional Fish and Wildlife Office, thus advancing the construction of the project. The Fish and Wildlife regional administration recognizes the project’s value to our island, and appreciates the substantial community support that has been demonstrated.
Milestones for this project include the following Ticatove, volunteers, friends and donors contributions:
Early 2020 Ticatove begins targeted fundraising efforts right before COVID-19 closures slow, but don't halt our efforts
Late 2020 - early 2021 Architect Paul Lutton donated his services to draw up plans for the main observation platform and handicapped accessible walkways. This allowed Ticatove to fund-raise based on reasonable construction material estimate costs.
Spring 2021 Engineer Paul Small surveyed the site and drafted the blue prints.
early Summer 2021 A special donation by island birders Dale & Priscilla Doucette funded the design and drafting of a 4'x8' birds of Monte Pirata interpretive sign by Angie Hernández and Anicka Chaffey. Professional birder Daphne Gemmill, nature photographer Frank Nieves, and biologist Erick Bermúdez provided photographs and translations of the text.
Summer 2021 Volunteer Terry Culhane helped create the Monte Pirata project page. You can stay informed on project updates from that page.
Fall 2021 The VNWR purchased the project's materials and supplies from main island vendors, as well as power tools from a Vieques hardware store.
Winter 2021 - Early 2022 After several interviews, VNWR Manager Mike Barandiaran selected a local contractor to supervise the construction using labor from our "Green Crew", (the Ticatove Members who built the Puerto Mosquito NNL Observation Platform), plus additional local sub-contractors, and personnel from the Vieques NWR. As much as possible, we have attempted to use local contractors and vendors. The donations raised through Ticatove for the project will be used to put Vieques residents to work.
March 21, 2022, Construction began!
When the Monte Pirata Overlook is completed, it should be a “must see” destination for locals and visitors to Vieques, allowing grand vistas of a natural landscape of Vieques's subtropical moist zone, unimpeded ocean views and vantage points to the north and west of the main island of Puerto Rico and to the east along the length of Vieques island.
If you are excited by our progress, we hope you will consider supporting the re-opening of Monte Pirata to the general public through a generous donation and join a growing community who is committed to sustainable nature based opportunities for Vieques's economic advancement and enjoyment of all!