Lomas de Arena Municipal Park is a protected area in the department of Santa Cruz, located 7.5 miles southeast of the department’s capitol city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and 1.5 miles from the Armonía Conservation Centre. Created in 1999 to protect a spectacular series of sand dunes (lomas de arena in Spanish), the 32,000 acre park also includes important wetlands and areas of native savannah and forest that provide habitat for a rich diversity of animals. Of the 259 bird species recorded in the area, approximately 180 are migratory birds from South and North America.
The park is a popular weekend destination for city residents. While the main attractions currently are the enormous sand dunes (up to 30 feet high) and several lakes, the diversity of birds and other fauna along with great scenic beauty make Lomas de Arena an excellent place for bird-watching and eco-tourism. Sadly, owing to lack of public awareness and insufficient park personnel, the recreational use of the park threatens the conservation of this important natural area – the principal problems are the uncontrolled use of 4-wheel motorcycles and deficient refuse management.
The park is an excellent tool for environmental education for the city of Santa Cruz and it is an important area for migratory birds. Armonia has developed good relations and synergies with the stakeholders, which allows us to do important conservation actions for this park. Presently we are seeking $4,000 USD for educational materials, $3,000 USD for park guard training and $3,000 USD to improve the existing bird hide and interpretive center.