DNER asks public to stay off natural bridge in Cabo Rojo

By John McPhaul

Boquerón State Forest Director Darien López Ocasio on Wednesday asked visitors to Los Morillos in Cabo Rojo not to cross or walk over a rocky natural bridge that is one of the tourist attractions in the area belonging to the Division of Protected Natural Areas of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER).

The request, the official said, arises after the series of tremors in the southwest of Puerto Rico that has weakened the natural bridge accessed by the Los Morillos Lighthouse in that municipality.

“The Natural Resources staff installed signs so that visitors to the area do not walk over or cross the bridge, which in turn is a cliff. Despite this, many continue to exceed the established limit and what we want is to avoid an accident or tragedy,” López Ocasio said in a written statement. “Right now it is a high-risk area and we do not know how compromised the bridge may be. We know that the area is beautiful and the photos there are very good, but we ask for caution and the cooperation of citizens so that later we do not have to have regret.”

Likewise, she asked that if visitors want to take a photo, they do so from the perimeter established by the DNER and not cross into the area identified as a danger or precaution zone.

“Thankfully we have not had accidents reported there, but we do know that visits have increased, according to what the personnel who supervise and make rounds in the area tell us,” she added.

The Boquerón State Forest is administered by the DNER in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Municipality of Cabo Rojo. It comprises 4,773 acres that are located between the municipalities of Lajas, Cabo Rojo and Mayagüez.

It has nine important segments: the mangroves of the Guanajibo neighborhood in Mayagüez, the mangroves of Laguna Joyuda, Puerto Real, Boquerón, a wildlife refuge, part of the salt flats, Molinos, Pitahaya and Bahía Montalva. The forest is also home to the largest population of ladybugs in Puerto Rico.

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