Ecoruta - Paseo del Quinde
This road starts in Quito, climbs Pichincha on the northern slope and winds down the west slope of Pichincha volcano past Nono, Tandayapa, and ends near Mindo on San Tadeo. The altitude variation is amazing and the biodiversity covers a wide range from the montane forest of northwestern Pichincha to the subtropical region of Mindo.
This historical road is very picturesque and provides an interesting appreciation of how the Andean slopes which have been deforested for many years give way to a small piece of untouched primary forests on the western slopes. This area still has primary forest due to the ruggedness of the terrain; the steep walls have trees with roots like cat-claws that allows them to stay erect on the almost vertical walls. This area has also become prime ground for private reserves sprouting in an effort to keep these forests preserved.
Unfortunately, these primary forests have also been put at risk by the OCP pipeline that cut through the forest crossing the Andes from the Amazon to the port of Esmeraldas. This pipeline was installed with huge flying caterpillars that hung from the cliffs while they buried this large pipe in a straight line without taking into consideration the biodiversity of this region. The current major risk to the area comes from land slides or ground movements that can break the pipeline spilling oil on the land and rivers.
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