Nearly 20 years ago, access to Brazil’s tallest mountain was prohibited. Currently, a new project could show how ecotourism can protect the Amazon rainforest from potential environmental threats.

Because so many people visited the summit in 2003—some of whom left garbage behind—the Brazilian government decided to prohibit access. As a result, for some hikers, this marks the end of a wait of almost 20 years. The Yanomami will be able to make money from tourism under the new visitation plan. This provides a way to resist both insider and outsider miners who would urge them to participate in destructive but profitable gold mining. If it is a success, it will act as a model for how effectively managed ecotourism may aid in defending the Amazon from outside forces that seek to take advantage of the area.

Although mining is a lucrative industry for young Yanomami men, there is hope that the Yaripo project may help the area turn around. The head of AYRCA, the Yanomami organization established to manage the ecotourism project, José Mario Pereira Goes, thinks this initiative is important.