Now the initiative to turn the site into a peace park will become a reality. A between Guatemalan officials and UCSB will be signed on the 22 of October in Santa Barbara. Guatemalan dignitaries Hector Escobedo, director general of the Directorate of Cultural and Natural Patrimony in Guatemala; Erick Ponciano, director of the Institute of Culture and History; and Vilma Fialko, coordinator of the Project of Archaeological Site Protection of Petén will sign the Memorandum as representatives of the Guatemalan Government.
The El Pilar Peace Park Initiative is a collaborative research project on both sides of the Guatemala and Belize borders. The signing of the MOU marks the 25th anniversary of Ford's discovery of El Pilar.
Several organizations dedicated to the preservation of archeological andwill participate, Exploring Solutions Past ~ The Maya Forest Alliance, Research Center at UCSB and Institute of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, ISBER.
After the signing of the MOU, an exhibit focusing on El Pilar will continue through. The exhibit includes maps of El Pilar, the Maya forest, and the , and wall-sized panels that feature photographer Macduff Everton's images documenting the research of El Pilar.
Anabel Ford explains that El Pilar at its most vibrant, the period from A.D. 600 to 900, had a population of more than 20,000 people who lived in a mosaic landscape of city homes and gardens. This contrasted with areas of forest reserve and agricultural fields, such as present-day traditional Maya forest gardens. Today, El Pilar is at the heart of a 5,000-acre archaeological reserve linking Belize and Guatemala and celebrating the culture and nature of the Maya forest.http://folkmusicfl.tripod.com/adventuresinbelize/