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Our start ...

When we begin to think and devise our Refuge, were coming from an experience in Australia, where we stayed four months delighted with the work done in national parks and ecological reserves in that country. The year was 1997, and our return to Brazil began a search for the ideal area that would take two years to be found, and a total immersion in ecotourism, a new and latent sector at the time.

Very sought by Cambará South, and almost closed a deal there, but we felt that was not the impact of the landscape that really sought. We were working as guides and regularly going to the region, in hospedávamos in simple, rural, adapted homes of residents flights, because at the time there was no proper tourism infrastructure.

Until one of the descents of the Sierra Faxinal, had a snap to seek land at the bottom of the canyons. And so it was. Not need to look far, and a second visit we had a real chance! Anyone accepted to sell 7 acres along the canyon Malacara. It was the perfect size for us, fit within our budget and had an international view of the cliffs of a canyon, a site chosen to be a national park for its natural beauty, and, of course, of harboring great faunal and floral diversity.

The downside, however: no one knew where the city wanted to put the facilities of the hostel. We would even changing state! All eyes were all for Cambará South at that time, on national campaigns that the state government of Rio Grande do Sul and was the reopening of the park itself, which happened in 1998, where most of the investment was made in gaucho side of this Conservation Unit.

But putting on paper the pros and cons, it was clear that there was one place a huge value! Rivers, waterfalls, trails, finally, we saw a lot of potential to be developed.

The construction

We stayed almost a year with the ground stopped, thinking or not we invest? At the same time, we hired an architectural project of 16 housing units. We knew it would not be easy, and besides, not all the funds that we need. We continued driving through South Cambará and each time was more latent in us the urgent need almost better infrastructure to meet our groups.

Communal toilets was an obstacle in the sale, electric shower, a problem in the winter and television on in times of fellowship, breaking the atmosphere of convivial people and nature. So it was clear to us that we would do things differently! And longed for this!

We started construction in March 2001. Decided to build 50% of the designed apartments (only one side) and the main hall with the services. Had no breath to everything and not know it would be alright ... Early on, we realized that the design could be better and we made several adjustments, including the gazebo, which is now an attractive part!

In November of that year, we fell in real that we would not afford to finish the work, even having already cut a wing of apartments. Have had roof but lacked the frames, furniture and finishing touches (and how it has!). We thought about closing the housing until we join what was missing. Irenaeus Kunrath (in memoriam), our great supporter, has not accepted and forced us to chase funding.

Meanwhile, the SP Building Materials, even without receiving, not left to stop the work and also continued to provide everything we asked. Anyway, Badesc released in the final value in March 2001 and in June, the 30th, the inaugurávamos Ecological Refuge Stone Sharp, in the town of Vila Rosa, municipality of Praia Grande, a garland for over one hundred guests.

The Inauguration

It was wonderful! Many friends came from afar to honor, assist in the preparations, many of our customers also screenplays, several personalities of the city and neighboring cities, mayors, businessmen, people who helped us, who believed, but most, backstage and in the mouth small, thought it would not work, we were crazy, it was a tremendous risk ...

And it was! But one calculated risk! We knew there was no better that our hosting! Whoever wanted to stop as well, come to us! We could put our hostel on Earth magazine that month (the reporter had come a month earlier) and Guia 4 Rodas that year, for so were the media!

We were already ready and brochure distributed at tourist centers of the state saw, had our plates by the way, both of those coming by BR, as anyone who saw the falls faxinal. Our site also was already in the air and Caá-ETE, ecotourism our agency, was closing itineraries and reservations for the Refuge! So July was a wonderful month working with an excellent move. August movement fell. September rose again with the holidays and so we started to mingle and meet the seasonality of hospitality.

Today, there are 15 years of inn open and running 365 days a year. Some events have marked us, such as the death of the Dutch guest, the passage of Hurricane Catarina, the flood of March 2007, the fall of the chimney in 2011, the closing of the Mirante do Malacara trail, the sighting of the first mammals in the area ... Many people have passed from supporters, employees, partners and guests.

And a lot of encouragement, smiles and positive words make us continue here, conserving this piece of land next to the National Park of Serra Geral, receiving people so special, sensitive to the natural environment, that allow us to grow to better receive them more and more . And that already yields another beautiful story ...

Want to know more about our history and the history of reforestation in our area? Watch this beautiful video that Globo's Terra da Gente program has done with us!


This text is authored by the journalist Ana Cláudia Strauch Aveline, partner, idealizer and director of the Ecological Refuge Pedra Afiada.

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