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LionGrove, Friends of El Yunque Foundation partner to benefit National Forest

The Friends of El Yunque Foundation, Rio Mar Hospitality, and the U.S. Forest Service announced the signing of a donation agreement that will allow them to continue subsidizing programs that promote education, conservation and responsible recreation in the El Yunque National Forest.

Under this agreement, potential guests of Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort and Wyndham Palmas Beach and Golf Resort – both owned by LionGrove and located in Río Grande and Humacao, respectively – could voluntarily donate $1 to the nonprofit.

Friends of El Yunque stands to receive about $350,000 annually through the initiative to continue promoting its initiatives in favor of the communities surrounding the forest. This figure is based on the calculation of 70% occupancy of both hotels.

“In a significant step toward corporate social responsibility, LionGrove has recognized the invaluable contribution of the El Yunque National Forest, which represents 20% of our tourism economy,” said Keenan Adams, supervisor of the El Yunque National Forest.

“We’re witnessing a new model in which companies that benefit from El Yunque actively participate in its sustainable management,” he said. “This is a model for sustainable tourism in Puerto Rico to avoid the degradation of our tourist assets. We invite everyone to join.”

For the past 14 years, the Friends of El Yunque Foundation has supported the El Yunque National Forest by creating initiatives that promote conservation, education and responsible recreation in the El Yunque National Forest.

The protection of its resources benefits ecological connectivity and, in turn, national and international communities and visitors, allowing them to have an enriching experience and opportunities that foster the potential for sustainable economic development of the eastern region as a tourist destination, nonprofit officials said.

One of the programs that will directly benefit from this agreement is the Educate to Conserve program, which aims to reach the student population with an educational immersion experience through which they learn about the biological importance of the rainforest.

In addition, the organization stated it is committed to developing educational, cultural and artistic activities in El Portal de El Yunque (Visitor Center), to bring the population closer to learning about the protection of the environment that benefits and strengthens the communities surrounding the forest.

“This voluntary donation initiative is a historic achievement in favor of the conservation of our forest, the sustainability of community projects in the eastern region and environmental education. We thank LionGrove for betting on models where the tourism industry is the protagonist in long-term conservation efforts,” said Carmen N. Portela, executive director of the Friends of El Yunque Foundation.

Amadeo Zarzosa, senior vice president of LionGrove and general manager of both hotels, said this is one of several initiatives that he and his team want to achieve to maximize opportunities for enjoyment and recreation in the El Yunque region.

The voluntary donation program began Nov. 1. Guests will have the option to voluntarily waive the donation when making their reservation, if they wish.

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