Collaborating with a team of Brazilian experts, EplerWood International created the sustainable tourism development plan for the Serra do Cipo park in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Historically known for its precious gems and gold mining that began in the 17th century, Minas Gerais has built a substantial tourism trade around its historic Gold Trail, the Estrada Real, with visitors flocking to see its historic cities, such as the colonial capital, Ouro Preto. The region’s mountains and natural resources are little known except by local visitors.

By undertaking market research, land-use planning, GIS mapping, and an investment potential analysis, EplerWood International created a market plan for the region and an action plan for investment. Private properties identified as gems for potential development for nature tourism were assisted by architects expert in sustainable architecture who developed prototype drawings for the development of the “gems” and an investment notebook with detailed interpretative information was produced. This project was managed by the Instituto Estrada Real and funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank

During the project, the Espinhaço Mountain Association was launched, with technical guidance from the EplerWood team, with plans to create the 1st long trail through the Espinhaço Mountain range which runs the length of the Estrada Real.