image of Alvaro Ugalde climbing hill

In Others’ Words

David Rains Wallace

May 4, 2015

I was very sorry to learn of Alvaro’s death. He and Pedro Leon were my main sources of information, contacts, introductions, and general support when I was in Costa Rica in 1990 researching a book on the national parks: The Quetzal and the Macaw (Sierra Club Books, 1992). They both later made useful suggestions on the manuscript. Alvaro continued supporting the book a couple of years ago when he brought up the idea of getting it translated into Spanish.

What most impressed me about Alvaro was the firmness of his dedication to national parks. He never seemed discouraged or disappointed about the many obstacles they face, although he had a sense of humor about it. That’s a rare quality in any endeavor, and one who has it is always a big loss.

Many people knew Alvaro and his accomplishments better than I did, so I’ll just add a quote from him that I included in my book. Alvaro worked hard as a volunteer in the early 1970s to make Costa Rica’s first national park, Santa Rosa N.P., a reality. When it finally was a reality, he wrote:

The wildlife suddenly realized there was silence again after many, many decades of persecution. Soon after that, they realized that they were free to move; the park was real, and it was for them, to live and evolve. Man had finally become their ally, at least in Santa Rosa. Twenty years later, their descendants are still there.