Canopy Family Panama

Short History of The Canopy Tower

Raúl Arias de Para
Raúl Arias de Para

The Canopy Tower wasn't always one of the best birding destinations in the world. The structure destined to become the Canopy Tower was built in 1965 by the United States Air Force to house a powerful radar used in the defense of the Panama Canal. By 1969, the site was jointly used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to control air traffic in the area, and by the Panama Canal Commission (PCC) as a communications tower.

In September of 1988, the radar tower received an important new assignment when it was activated as Site One in the Caribbean Basin Radar Network (CBRN). This network of radars was used by the United States government to detect airplanes suspected of carrying drugs from South America. The tower played this role until June of 1995 when it was closed and left vacant waiting for better days.

In November of 1996, the radar tower and the Semaphore Hill site, consisting of approximately 35 acres of rainforest within Soberanía National Park, was transferred to Panama in compliance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

In August of 1997, the government of Panama signed a long-term contract with Raul Arias de Para to transform the site into a center for neotropical-rainforest observation and ecotourism in Panama.

In January of 1999, the Canopy Tower was inaugurated and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Canopy Tower by Daniel Arias B.

   The radar tower in 1997                                              The Canopy Tower in 2010

Old radar tower being remodeledImage

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