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El Yunque National Forest opens RFP for outfitters, guides

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking proposals from individuals, businesses, or organizations interested in offering outfitter or guiding opportunities on the El Yunque National Forest. Proposals are being accepted through May 22nd.

This request for proposals is intended to determine level of interest and to identify next steps for issuing outfitter and guide special use permits to interested parties. Outfitters and guides typically offer opportunities such as gear and equipment rentals or recreation experiences led by an expert guide to paying customers. Special attention will be paid to those proposals focused on offering tourism experiences in the El Portal visitor center.

Outfitters and guides are required to have a special use permit issued by the Forest Service to operate on national forest lands and waters. The purpose of this public notice is to reissue expiring permits and issue new permits and to help determine whether sufficient competitive interest exists that would warrant issuance of a prospectus.

“Puerto Rico tourism has changed in terms of volume, how people are visiting, and what they are looking for. We haven’t developed offerings to acclimate to the current demand. Our outfitters and guides are the key people to help us transition to a 21st century tourism model, that focuses on sustainability,” said Keenan Adams, Forest Supervisor.

“The closure of certain areas affected by hurricanes Irma and María and ongoing construction work have reduced parking capacity, limiting the number of people who can visit El Yunque. Outfitters and guides are our best solution to immediately provide more access using vehicles that can carry more people,” Adams said.

“Additionally, we want to align with our Forest Plan goals to create a circular economy. We want proposals to leverage existing offerings adjacent to the National Forest to combine that experience with an El Portal visit or to develop offerings that diversify the current experiences,” said Adams.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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