People, power-lines and nature: Linking countries without losing heritage

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There is only one place in all the Americas where a person can walk from the Pacifc Ocean to the Atlantic without crossing a road. It’s the so-called Darien Gap in the extreme east of Panama on the border with Colombia. The remote roadless area is home to forests, wetlands and indigenous reserves. Another thing it doesn’t have is electric power-lines. Since 1998 Panama and Colombia have discussed connecting their electric grids to increase flexibility and lower costs. They have generally proposed passing the wires through the Darien Gap. Conservation Strategy Fund joined the Panama Ministry of the Environment recently to examine alternatives to this route, weighing financial construction costs, potential ecological and cultural damage and national security risks.