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 THE CANOPY TOWER

The Canopy Tower is located in the heart of Soberania National Park, in the Panama Canal's shore.  Right on top of Semaphore Hill, in well preserved semidecidous tall forest. The area is noted for its abundant wildlife and exuberant flora. Indentified 269 species of plants, 96 species of birds, 35 species of mammals and 15 species of amphibians within the 37 acres given in concession. The survey concluded that Semaphore Hill contained the greatest variety of mammals and reptiles of all eastern bank of the Panama Canal, including several species in danger of extinction globally and nationally.

From the Canopy Tower you can see the widening of the Culebra Cut. When completed in 2003, four times the amount of soil digged to build the tunnel communicating England with France, will have been moved.

The Canopy Tower is at an altitude of 900 feet above sea level. In the distance, you can see the skyline of Panama City and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

The Canopy Tower was built in the early 60's by the United States Air Force to house a radar which served as an essential part of the intercontinental defense of the United States. Later, it was used by the Federal Aviation Administration to control air traffic in the area and, finally, by the Panama Canal Commission as a communications tower. It was transferred to Panama in November of 1996 in compliance with the Torrijos - Carter Treaties. The Government of Panama, in turn, signed a concession contract with a Panamanian Corporation, to transform the site into a center for the observation of fauna and flora of the neo-tropical rainforest.

*Column's  pictures and text courtesy of CanopyTower.

THE PANAMA CANAL TOURISTIC DESTINATION OF THE WORLD

The idea of an Interoceanic Canal in America starts with the arrival of Spaniards to the isthmus of Pcanalmagazine1.jpg (32861 bytes)anama in 1,501, and began to take shape when Vasco Nuņez de Balboa discovers the South Sea (The Pacific Ocean) September 25, 1,513 and since then, the world was in need of a marine pathway for international commerce.

Later when France began the construction of the Canal in 1.881, the visionary idea about Panama's geographical position becoming the ideal route to shorten distances and time for the benefit of world commerce, becomes a reality. This concept comes to fruition with the completion of the construction of the Panama Canal August 15, 1,914, by the United States of America, based on the Hay Buneau-Variila Treaty with Panama in 1903.

From the aforementioned date on and after an extensive period of negotiations preceded by vindicative atruggle by Panama against the 1903 Traty, finally on September 7, 1,977 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, the Panama Canal Treaties Knonw as the Torrijos-Carter, that in realty are two treaties were signed: one concerning the Permanent Neutrality and the other the Operation of the Panama Canal.

These treaties contain a gradual process of reversion of territorries, buidings and civilian and military installions starting in 1977 and ended on December 31, 1999, when the Republic of Panama took total control of the administration of both the Canal, and all the adjacent infraestructure, in a country enjoying full democracy, prepared to pffer the world a Canal with opportunities for investments in commerce, industry and tourism.

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Be a witness to this world event, come now and get to know about the operation of the so called "world's eighth   wonder", the Panama Canal.

*Text: www.panamatours.com ; Pictures courtesy of Marcela Gilbert.

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