PNMBL

The Loreto Bay National Park : Friends of the Park

The National Park (Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto) is one of the treasures of this area. The limits of the park extend onto the shores surrounding the park as the shoreline is recognized as an essential component of the marine environment for shore birds and turtles, for example.  One of the characteristics of that shore environment, in some areas, is the presence of beaches and dunes.  In our community of Loreto Bay / Nopolo our residents enjoy this park for beach walks, paddling, swimming and snorkeling, observing marine life and for fishing.  In 2022 a group of residents in Loreto Bay created a group called "Friends of the Loreto Bay National Park" as a way to help protect and promote the park and to advocate for use of the Park in compliance with the spirit of the Park Rules.

The Park

Park Map

Stylized Map Of the Park

The Park was established by government decree on July 19, 1996, and has an area of 206,580 hectares. Internationally it is recognized as a World Network of Biospheres Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and as a Wetlands of International Importance

Loreto Bay National Park is home to:

    891 fish species, including 90 endemic fishes
    a third of the world’s cetacean species (found in the Gulf of California)
    695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List

Management of the Park

The land surrounding the oceans in Mexico is managed by several organizations. The overall jurisdiction for environmental protection in all locations is the responsibility of the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT). 

In all areas in Mexico adjacent to the ocean there is a 20m maritime protection zone referred to as the Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre (ZOFEMAT) which is managed by a branch of SEMARNAT.

Also under SEMARNAT, national parks are administered by the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP).  Land adjacent to the Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto is part of the park up to 10m inland from the highest high tide line.  This park boundary may overlap with the maritime protection zone - as it does in Loreto Bay.

Enforcement activity, including issueing fines and assessing penalties for environmental offences is the responsibility of Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA) - also part of SEMARNAT. 

Other players in our community include the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (FONATUR) which exists to promote tourism in Mexico.

Beyond these zones up to private property is “Land reclaimed from the sea”. This extra land is also protected under the jurisdiction of SEMARNAT. In Loreto Bay, jurisdiction over all the land between the HOA boundary and the high tide line has been delegated to the local management of the Park.

Our Mandate

In 2018, a few of us went to the Loreto Bay HOA with a proposal to start a "beach committee".  At the time there were a number of topics catching our attention including increased fees for storing kayaks and paddle boards at the "Paddle Shack", storage of individual kayaks along the beach on the water front, Marines with guns telling people they could not paddle in the Park during whale season and other issues that cried out for some way of resolving misunderstandings and problems.  The proposal to the HOA was turned down on the basis of "no jurisdiction" but we were encouraged to proceed on our own.  It's taken a few years, but here we are.  We have already received the endorsement of a large group of paddlers in Loreto Bay, others who recognize the Park as a great feature of our community, as well as the support of the Director of the Park in Loreto and the President of the Ocean Foundation.

Our Mission

Our main premise in forming this group is that the more people understand about the Park, the more likely it is that the Park will be treasured and respected - so education and information is high on our list.  As in the case of paddlers being told they could not paddle in the Park during whale season, we had a number of discussions with various interested parties and reached an agreement. Even during whale season we could continue to paddle as long as we respected the minimum permitted distance between our boats and marine mammals such as whales.  For the storage of kayaks we worked with paddlers and the HOA to provide racks in key locations.  To help enforce new fishing regulations we provided translation and published a spanish brochure which explained the regulations and restricted fishing areas into english.  We will continue to take on similar projects in future hoping to help our community understand what it means to live on the shores of a Mexican National Park.

How to Join our group

We are trying to grow our group and encourage you to join.  We are still in the early stages of formalizing our mandate and how we will organize ourselves so by joining now, you get a say in what we do and how we do it.  We will soon have an automatic way of joining up but for now, just send an email to us at info@loretoparkfriends.org and tell us you want to join.  When you've done that we will include you in our notices and member mailouts.

Resources

Park Passes : www.visitloreto.info
Fishing Regulations : fishing.paddles-up.ca/pnmbl.pdf
Paddling in Whale Season : whales.paddles-up.ca (needs update)
"Beach" brochure : Draft Publication of Friends of the Park
Go to our Park Friends Forum
Contact us: info@loretoparkfriends.org