by International Community Foundation
If you have ever driven between La Paz and Todos Santos, or Los Cabos and La Paz, you may have seen signs for El Triunfo, a historic mining town in the mountains near Santiago. Even from a distance you can spot the town’s iconic 47-foot tall smokestack, fondly known as “La Ramona”, which was long-abandoned and in disrepair, at-risk of further degradation and harm to the community, particularly during Baja’s hurricane season. That is, until 2015 when the International Community Foundation (ICF) and local nonprofit Corredor Histórico CAREM, A.C. partnered to restore this symbol of the region’s history.
Over the course of three years, ICF and CAREM worked with the local community including the ejido, and state and municipal authorities; earned the approval of INAH - the federal agency for history and archaeology; and construction companies specialized in historical restorations to make this project a reality. The underlying goal was to create a safer and healthier public space for local community members, reducing the risk of collapse/loss, and contribute to the cultural and economic revival of El Triunfo by supporting the rise of cultural and historical tourism.
As of June 2018, the restoration has been complete and educational signs situated around the chimney explain the historical significance and impacts of the smokestack and the mining industry to the greater Baja California Region. Coupled with the nearby Mining Museum, the El Triunfo Piano Museum, and the future Museum of the Cowboy, a visit to the town is an unexpected educational experience for any traveler in Baja. Throw in a bite at one of the famed local restaurants or cafes, and the opportunity to go mountain biking, ride ATVs, or horseback ride through the nearby hills and you’ve got a destination that is sure to pique the interest of everyone in your group!
Although the restoration is done, the fundraising and long-term economic development plans are still underway. CAREM and the local authorities are continuing to develop a sustainable management plan for the La Ramona site, including waste management, construction of bathrooms and security lighting. Additionally, ICF and CAREM are partners in events such as the annual Gastro/Vino events that have brought attention (and hundreds of people!) to El Triunfo over the past few years. Events like these are intended to raise funds for local nonprofits like CAREM who are committed to the economic development of the region through cultural and educational tourism.
If you would like to be part of this lasting legacy in Baja California Sur, there are several ways to contribute to the CAREM-La Ramona Fund at ICF, through online donations, checks and deposits. Just follow this link or contact email@example.com to learn more. And the next time you’re in town, make a point to celebrate the spirit of rich Mexican Heritage during a day trip to El Triunfo!