The Fort Grant and Fort Amador military installations were set apart and assigned to all the uses and purposes of military installations by a US Executive Order signed in 1919. Yet even prior to their designation as a military installation, a US presidential commission in 1913 had identified the natural aesthetic beauty of the area. There are points of interest as one approaches the canal from the Pacific with which it would be unwise to attempt to compete by any structure built for artistic reasons alone. The shore itself is inspiring and the islands occupied by forts with heavy guns will really guard the entrance to the Canal. The report also went on to accurately predict that the area would "come to be a favorite drive for the people of Panama. During most of this century, the 4 islands at the Pacific entrance of the Canal, joined by an artificial causeway built with rubble from the Canal construction, have served a military purpose, mostly under the US , also in the 80s under the Panamanian military.
It was only in 1990 that the area was designated for recreation and tourism by the Government of Panama. Plans have proceeded for the development of a tourism infrastructure since Fort Amador reverted to Panama's Interoceanic Regional Authority in September 1996. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), dedicated to research on the ecology, evolution and behavior of tropical organisms and based in the Republic of Panama, turned three military bunkers and a machine room into modern facilities that are an integral part of its educational Marine Exhibition Center (CEM). These facilities are located in Culebra Island formerly part of Fort Grant and later Fort Amador, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|