The Gruta Lagoa Azul , or Blue lagoon Cave, is the Picture postcard of the Bom Jardim district of Nobres. Closed for twenty two years, the expectation is that it will open during the 2017 season. The Grotto has stood in a legal and environmental quagmire for as long as it has been closed. Subsurface rights, such as caverns belong to the federal union and are regulated by the Secretaria de Patrimônio da União (Secretariat of Patrimony of the Union), regardless of whom owns the surface rights. The Grotto also sits within the 12,512 hectare area of the Parque Estadual Gruta da Lagoa Azul (Gruta de Lagoa Azul State Park), and has been closed both by the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA) to preserve the patrimony of the union, as well as by the Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente (SEMA) to enforce the Management Plan of the State Park, and specifically to protect the 512 hectare Gruta de Lagoa Azul reserve from environmental degradation. The management plan defines the Park as one of the crown jewels of the patrimony of the state of Mato Grosso. In Brazil, more than 3600 caverns have been documented by the Centro de Estudo de Cavernas (CEVAC) which is parto f Ibama. Of these, only one hundred are open to tourism. In the state of Mato Grosso, only the Aroe Jari Cavern Complex in Chapada dos Guimaraes (link:, the largest sandstone cavern formation in Brazil, is open to visitation as it is the only cavern viable for tourism that has filed an completed an environmental impact study and filed an environmental management plan that meets the criteria established by Ibama. The Gruta de Lago Azul and other caverns in Mato Grosso documented by Ibama are considered among the largest and most beautiful in Brazil, but due to lack of definition of the rules that insure the environmental integrity of the caverns and surrounding areas of conservation, unfortunately they are not being visited by tourist. The Gruta de Lagoa Azul has characteristics similar to the Gruta de de Lago Azul in Bonito, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Composed of limestone, it has a pool that appears blue due to the refraction of light on the alkaline waters, as well as stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and forms sculpted by nature over the course of geologic time, and even since the time the cavern was open to visitation. A topographic survey of the cavern complex was conducted in 2004, and an environmental impact study was later conducted with the expectation that the cavern would be open to visitation in 2012; but, in the course of changing governments, responsibilities and diminished budgets, nothing was ever finalized. A meeting occurred late in 2015 which included representatives of the Municipal Tourist Authority of Nobres, two technicians from Ibama, the Secretariat of Tourism of Mato Grosso, as well as analysts from the Secretariat of Development of Mato Grosso. They resolved to hand over title and ownership of the cave complex to the municipality of Nobres, after which a new environmental study would be conducted and submitted to Ibama followed by construction of the required infrastructure so that the cave could finally reopen for tourism. The plan is remarkably similar to the one utilized at the Lago Azul in Bonito in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where ownership of the property was transferred to the municipality of Bonito decades ago, and where the commercial sector, the tourist trade, the municipality and the tourist have benefited for ages.