Local tourism operator worried about unexpected closure of Hatun Machay

R osario Pilar Obregón Domínguez´ reign at Hatun Machay keeps worrying local tourism operators. The psychologist from Huaraz was granted by the community of Pampas Chico the management of the site on the 6th of January last year; however, her management has never been flawless. During the past year many climbers complained about her management style and have also indicated to have had disputes about (changing) entrance fees and visit permissions. On top of this, the editor of The Huaraz Telegraph got threatened to be lynched after publishing on the Hatun Machay topic by the female concessionaire.

Read also: Open letter directed to Rosario Pilar Obregón Domínguez

In May of last year, Obregón openly claimed to be the new concessionaire of Hatun Machay and spoke to the local press announcing that the rock forest of Hatun Machay had officially reopened to visitors. According to the psychologist, a couple of new disciplines such as slackline and cross-country running were to be offered to tourists. Obregón said that the community of Catac would become part of her administration and that this new period will be better than the previous administration. However, Obregón did not specify for how long she had been granted the concession. In an online article, Obregón explained the reason why she got involved in Hatun Machay. She said that ´voices´ told her to administrate the rock forest. She recalled: “I remember that I got up and, wanting to leave my tent; a woman’s voice told me ´get up and work´. I then started to connect, to ask people what I could do to help them, how to rent the place. That´s how everything began a year ago. That voice, I do not know if it were the mountains, a virgin or the patroness of the place, but I know it was a woman.’

Read also: The piteous downfall of Hatun Machay

Obregón´s questionable reign at Hatun Machay has now been given a new turn as she declared to have ´closed´ the site, without giving any further explanations. On her Facebook page she wrote the following message: ¨Hello people, I would like to inform everyone that the rock forest of Hatun Machay is closed until further notice. Please, understand that the word CLOSED means that no one should go there. I am being clear; do not come up with resentments and misunderstandings. Also, don’t contact me, I won´t give any explanations

Obregón´s message was received with many raised eyebrows in Huaraz, particularly amongst local tourism operators. One of them, revealed to The Huaraz Telegraph: ¨I would like to share something which I believe is outrageous (showing us the screenshot with the message). Does this lady think she is the owner of a public space? The only thing I asked for some valid justification. After doing so, she blocked me. Her publication gives the impression that she is an authority who doesn’t have to give clarifications to anyone, as if it is her own piece of land. I read her publication at dawn and it seemed written in a very authoritative tone, by someone who is ´in charge of the place´. She should at least give some coherent explanations of why entries are prohibited. I am a tour operator and it causes discomfort because I have planned to take groups to Hatun Machay later this year. I am going to have conversations with the community in the near future to check out if she has some kind of legal power, and to know the real reasons for closure and finally I will see if we can get rid of this concessionaire. What matters here is the tenacious way in which this young lady in question restrains the passage to a public natural area without giving further explanations, implying that she is not accountable to anyone. She isn’t even a person who is dedicated to tourism, nor does she make a living from this activity. The only thing I did was ask her what the reasons for the closure were. I was told to shut up and live my live! Everything would have been fine if she would have given some valid reasons. Sadly, the local community doesn’t respond either to the matter

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