UPDATED: We’re updating this as we discover more information. We obtained a typed copy of the Friends Of Graeme Hall media release and it is now posted here. (scroll down the page – Robert)
Government Of Barbados & Citizens’ Group Persuade Nature Sanctuary Owner To Donate Lands To National Park!
Folks, I don’t know how we missed this, but there has obviously been something happening behind the scenes involving the proposed Graeme Hall National Park.
We are trying to find out more details, but apparently representatives from the Government of Barbados and a citizens’ group have persuaded the owner of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to DONATE THE MAJORITY OF THE HOLDINGS to the people of Barbados – as part of a National Park. The donation is contingent upon the establishment of the National Park at Graeme Hall.
We see something up on the website – so we’ll be back in a moment with more.
Rumour mill has it that Dr. Duguid was involved in this and that the PM is onside? Does anyone have anything on this?
Dr. Duguid? What’s up?
Here is the media release from the Friends Of Graeme Hall…
Group Announces Proposed Land Donation for Graeme Hall National Park
An official from the Friends of Graeme Hall (FOGH) confirmed that Mr. Peter Allard, owner of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, has formally agreed to offer a donation of twenty-five (25) acres of Sanctuary lands to the proposed Graeme Hall National Park.
The offer was submitted to the Government of Barbados by FOGH in mid-December. The proposed donation of Sanctuary lands is contingent on Government action to create the 240-acre Graeme Hall National Park and ensure permanent protection for the last remaining significant green space between Bridgetown and the airport.
“The 25 acres of Sanctuary land would be a gift to the people of Barbados from the estate of Mr. Allard,” said Allan Marshall, director of FOGH. “We knew that he wanted to help us with the National Park effort, so we talked with him and he decided to make the offer. He also committed to help maintain these lands afterwards. It is a generous offer.”
According to Harry Roberts, General Manager of the Sanctuary, the proposed donation represents the majority of land held by the 35-acre Sanctuary. “We support the mission of FOGH, and are encouraged by their commitment to raising funds and gathering support for Graeme Hall National Park. We hope the proposed donation by Mr. Allard, as well as our long-standing commitment to environmental preservation and low-impact recreation can benefit both the Government of Barbados and FOGH.”
The Sanctuary lands outlined in the offer include the largest inland lake in Barbados, surrounding forest lands and various improvements.
Marshall added that FOGH was working hard to identify additional sources of potential funding and support for the National Park.
“In addition to the proposed land donation by the Sanctuary, FOGH has formally committed to raising Bds. $6 million to assist Government with various engineering and recreational improvements for the proposed new Park. Combined with operational support from the Sanctuary, local endowments, and potential international sources such as the World Heritage Site programme, we feel that we are getting closer to making Graeme Hall National Park a reality,” said Marshall.
The proposed Graeme Hall National Park area consists of sensitive wetlands and agricultural buffer lands that encompass the highest concentration of biodiversity on the island. The National Park proposal (www.graemehallnationalpark.org), would include improvements to site drainage to help prevent contamination of Worthing Beach, and improve agricultural and environmental programmes and facilities.
The proposal also lists specific recreational and community improvements such as bicycle/walking trails, recreational fishing, an archery range, picnic areas, an exercise “heart” trail with exercise stations, and an open air fruit and vegetable market.
Our Comment On This Development
If, as is rumoured, representatives of the Government of Barbados have been involved in discussions about this offer – either officially or on the side – then this may signal an awakening by this government about the importance of being able to secure the few remaining natural areas on Barbados for future generations. Previously we had heard about the creation of a National Flower Garden.
Barbados is a wonderful place to live and visit, but aside from issues of culture and safety, it has precious little to differentiate it from many other sand/sea/sun travel destinations. A national park at Graeme Hall would be a major eco-tourist draw and a lasting legacy for our children and beyond.