Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary was created August 7, 1974 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Junín. It is located at 4,100 m altitude in Junín's high plateau in the Central Andes. Springs emerging in the protected area are an important source of water for Junín and an important part of Lake Junín's hydrographic system. Biological diversity is typical of Andean highlands, although wild vicuña populations stand out.
The sanctuary's objectives include maintain the natural environment, conserve native flora and fauna, conserve archeological and historical heritage, promote tourism development, provide opportunities for recreation and open space enjoyment, and offer opportunities for applied research.
The protected area has a Master Plan, zoning, and established conservation programs. There is one director who is responsible for the entire Junín complex (Huayllay National Sanctuary, Junín National Reserve, and Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary), two park guards, two volunteer park guards, and a supporting management committee. The Junín complex also has an administrator and a specialist.
Within Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary, extensive livestock grazing (sheep, cattle, and South American camelids) is the most important economic activity. Several groups are actively engaged in grazing their animals on sanctuary land, including the "San Francisco de Chichausiri" Agrarian Cooperative, the rural community "Villa de Junín," the rural community "San Pedro de Cajas," and the Izaguirre and Patiño families. There are also a series of regional organizations directly and indirectly involved in the protected area.
Tourism is sporadic and mostly concentrated during the first week of August during the celebrations commemorating the Battle of Junín. During this time, a large number of tourists descend on the sanctuary and unfortunately, generate negative impacts during their visit.
The main land use conflict within Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary is related to the San Francisco de Chichausiri Agrarian Cooperative, located within the sanctuary itself. They occupy the old plantation and use sanctuary lands for livestock grazing and production. Livestock activity conducted over the years and overuse of sanctuary pastures have generated a series of negative impacts. Herders and those involved in livestock burn native grasses, introduce cultivated pasture grasses thereby altering ecosystem composition, drain wetlands to irrigate introduced pastures, build canals for irrigation, erect fences for livestock, open roads to transport products and staff, and they pollute the environment. Livestock presence has decreased vegetative coverage and reduced the vigor of native pastures. This allows undesirable herbaceous species to replace native, desirable species. Any restoration efforts would be futile while livestock remain.
Another problem is resource extraction from within the protected area, specifically straw grass extraction for use in constructions and alpaca moss extraction for use as fuel. In addition, wild guinea pigs are illegally hunted.
The garbage dump located on the southern border is problematic. This open-air dump, implemented without any technical criteria, contaminates the protected area and affects local fauna.
The conflict with San Francisco de Chichausiri Agrarian Cooperative must be resolved by applying corresponding legislation. To ensure optimal sustainability, the cooperative's activities must be stopped and they must be removed.
While the situation with the cooperative is being resolved, interim agreements should be adopted to improve livestock management and reduce impacts. The number of cattle in the protected area should be reduced. For the moment, livestock activity should be restricted to the established zone and strictly monitored. Camelids should be promoted instead of cattle. The camelid species, specifically the vicuñas, provide better management possibilities, they represent a conservation target, and their wool can reap high market returns.
Tourism development should be conducted following the Junín Complex Tourist and Recreation Use Plan. This would help reduce tourism pressure during the first week of August. Activities should be developed throughout the year and different routes promoted to prevent excessive concentrations of visitors. Close coordination is needed between regional agencies and tourism operators to promote organized, sustainable tourism.
Control activities must be intensified to stop extraction. An effective communication strategy must be designed that would increase local participation in the sanctuary's conservation. Environmental and awareness programs should be designed and developed and staff and volunteers need additional training. Research should be promoted in the sanctuary. Additional fund-raising mechanisms should be explored to raise money to finance sanctuary activities.
Finally, the Municipality of Junín must urgently resolve the garbage dump problem on the protected area's southern border.