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Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park #403823
04/02/11 09:45 AM
04/02/11 09:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,784
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
On Friday April 1st, Minister Heredia signed the final Statutory Instrument (SI), making Marco Gonzalez a national park. The official signing took place at the Belize Tourism Board office at 2:00pm. In attendance were Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture; Ms Diane Haylock, President NICH (National Institute of Culture and History). From Belize Institute of Archaeology were: George Thompson, Acting Director; Dr. John Morris, Associate Director, Research; Brian Woodye, Associate Director, Parks; Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director, Education; Melissa Badillo, Staff Archaeologist; members from the Marco Gonzalez Board of Directors, members of the media and other invited guests.
George Thompson, Diane Haylock, Minister Manuel Heredia
Hon. Manuel Heredia, Jan Brown

Diane Haylock, Hon. Heredia, Jan Brown

Marco Gonzalez Site:

Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403839
04/02/11 11:09 AM
04/02/11 11:09 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 963
Fishers, Indiana UISA
lovey and thurston Offline
lovey and thurston  Offline
Exciting news! Thanks Jan for all your hard work to make it happen. Kudos to those in government for their foresight.

R.B. Mernitz
Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403843
04/02/11 11:32 AM
04/02/11 11:32 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,036
Rockport, Maine
klcman Offline
klcman  Offline
Awesome news! NICE JOB, JAN!!!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman
Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403846
04/02/11 11:37 AM
04/02/11 11:37 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,135
San Pedro AC Belize
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Fantastic !

Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403849
04/02/11 12:38 PM
04/02/11 12:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,757
San Pedro Belize
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
Yes Jan, you done good!no Great!

White Sands Dive Shops Daily Blog
Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403852
04/02/11 01:13 PM
04/02/11 01:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
san pedro, Belize
collyk Offline
collyk  Offline
This is wonderful news!
Belize Wedding Photography

Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403854
04/02/11 01:32 PM
04/02/11 01:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 273
San Pedro
Cayemen Offline
Cayemen  Offline
Great achievement. Kudos to Jane.

Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #403860
04/02/11 05:18 PM
04/02/11 05:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,436
San Pedro, Belize
Judyann H. Offline
Judyann H.  Offline
Oh Jan, so happy for you and all of us....You have worked soooo hard for this; we thank you!

....And now the work gets harder.....

You know Tom and I are behind you......And soooo proud....Congratulations!

My friends call me Judyann
Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #404010
04/05/11 08:25 AM
04/05/11 08:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,784
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

San Pedro's First Official Archaeological Site

Marco Gonzalez National Park

Friday, April 1, 2011 was a memorable occasion as Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, signed the final Statutory Instrument (SI) making the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site and official Archeological National Park. The signing took place at the Belize Tourism Board office.

Ms. Diane Haylock, President of National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), Mr. George Thompson, Acting Director, Hon. Manuel Heredia and Jan Brown, Founder/Chairperson of Marco Gonzalez signed a Memorandum of Understanding between The Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Ambergris Caye Limited and The Institute of Archeology – National Institute of Culture and History for the co-management of the Marco Gonzalez Archeological Reserve.

With the signing and officially naming Marco Gonzalez a National Park and having the support of NICH for the proper management of the Park an exuberant Jan Brown was pleased to have finally made this a reality. Hon. Heredia also pledged to Ms. Brown that the committee would be receiving $20,000 ($10,000 from the Belize Tourism Board and $20,000 from NICH) for a proper bridge to be made for proper access to the site.

Also present at this historical occasion were George Thompson, Acting Director; Dr. John Morris, Associate Director, Research; Brian Woodye, Associate Director, Parks; Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director, Education; Melissa Badillo, Staff Archaeologist; members from the Marco Gonzalez Board of Directors and other invited guests. After the official signing the group was then taken to Marco Gonzalez Maya Site for a tour.

About Marco Gonzalez

Marco Gonzalez was briefly reconnoitered and registered as an archaeological site in 1984 when a team from the Royal Ontario Museum heard about the site and asked a guide by the name of Marco Gonzalez to take them there – Hence the site was named in his honor. Prior to this, the existence of the site was probably known to a few on the island. After it’s recording and consequent archeological research insighted by the Institute of Archaeology, the site progressively became popular over the years.

Marco Gonzalez is located approximately five miles south of San Pedro Town and is situated on the Southern end of the Boca Chica Lagoon. The archaeological site itself consists of a least 49 structures, made up of mostly love structure platforms that range in height from 30 cm to 4.0m. Marco Gonzalez is one of approximately 13 archaeological sites situated on the island, most of which are located on the Northern part of San Pedro such as Basil Jones, Ecklum, San Juan and others.

The site of Marco Gonzalez is believed to have started and evolved from a small community during the late Pre-classic Period (100BC) and had continuous growth and development since the Early to Middle Classic (AD 200 – AD 500). Evidence suggests that permanent settlement began on the southern part of the site with older structures located there. Fills found in structures consist of “reef rocks” with earth, sand coral and abundant shells suggesting that constructions were made with the use of local material and that the community was not reliant on importing material from the mainland.

The inhabitants of Marco Gonzalez taken up residency on the island from a very early time because they saw the potential of the island. Fish and shellfish remains recovered from middens, suggest that marine resource exploitation was important and that settlement of Marco Gonzalez relied on and were continuously using the island from the outset and one which continued for the life and history of the site. This was the initiation, the formative days of San Pedro as a first fishing community and perhaps not intentionally but ironically the site is still contributing to the Tourism sector – a sector San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is heavily involved with.

The pre-historic economy of Marco Gonzalez goes beyond the harnessing, procurement and utilization of marine resources. A secondary aspect of their economy involved the salt making and processing activities which is evident particularly during the late Classic period (A.D. 600 – 900). This late period exhibit a time when most, if not all, major coastal sites, including those of northern San Pedro, were involved in intense completion and long distance trade. Sites all along the coastline of Belize during the late terminal exhibit high level of foreign exotic goods being traded from Guatemala through Belize and Mexico – exotic goods such as obsidian, jade and pottery. Marco Gonzalez not surprisingly exhibited no exception to this seemingly popular economic trend around A.D. 900.

(Information provided by Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director of the Institute of Archeology)

Ambergris Today

Re: Marco Gonzalez officially becomes a National Park [Re: Marty] #404272
04/07/11 08:25 AM
04/07/11 08:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,784
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Marco Gonzalez Maya Site gets its official SI

Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia was at the BTB (Belize Tourism Board) Office in San Pedro on Friday, April 1st at 2:00pm along with representatives from the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Ambergris Caye Ltd. Group (MGMSAC), members of the Government of Belize (GOB), National Institute of Culture and History (NICH); Institute of Archeology (IA) and other invited guests; for the signing of the Statutory Instrument (SI) for the MGMSAC and a Memorandum of Understanding (MU) between all parties involved for the management of the site.

Invited guests included: Ms. Diane Haylock, President NICH: from the IA; George Thompson, Acting Director; Dr. John Morris, Associate Director, Research; Brian Woodye, Associate Director, Parks; Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director, Education and Melissa Badillo, Staff Archaeologist. From the Marco Gonzalez Board of Directors: Jan Brown, Founder/Chairman; Joe Lawrence, Matt Fowler and Ricky Verde. From the San Pedro Tourism Stakeholders: Mayor Elsa Paz, BTB San Pedro Office Staff; Minister's Secretary Betty Longsworth, Julie Babcock, BTIA; representatives from San Pedro Tour Guide Association; Gach Guerrero, Maya Island Air and others.

The signing of the SI was a historical one for Ambergris Caye as it makes the site the first and only reserve on an island. After the signing, Hon. Manuel Heredia told the The San Pedro Sun, "Ever since Jan decided to come onboard with this project, she had been moving up and down trying to do her best. I think it has been months since this project went underway. I believe that as the Minister responsible, I have to do things right and for that reason the SI was done, as mandated, to be able to have Jan operate the site."

He explained that he further supports the project as it provides an added attraction that the island can offer to its visitors and locals alike; especially the young children who will be now have the opportunity to experience the wonders of our Mayan history without the costly need to travel to the mainland. He went on to state, "I feel that this should have been done a long time ago but we needed people like Jan and her group who have been instrumental in the island not only with Marco Gonzalez but other festivities that we have had on the island as well".

While Mr. Heredia expressed his disappointment in locals who have not taken the initiative to spearhead causes such as this one, he thanked and expressed his appreciation to the Ex-pats who have made San Pedro their home and contributed and continue to contribute to the growth and betterment of the island. Minister Heredia added that he hopes to secure further assistance for the Bacalar Chico Nature Reserve as well, which is in needed of attention and other archeological sites up north. He pledged 20,000 to assist in the MGMS; $10,000from NICH and $10,000 from BTB to be used in the construction of an access route to the site.

A delighted Jan Brown told The San Pedro Sun, "I'm walking on air. My feet haven't touched the ground all day. Now that we have reached our agreements, we're the first co-management that will be able to work with NICH, IA and with the Government and we're very proud that they trust us enough to know that we'll protect their interests - as a recognized Archeological site many avenues of funding becomes opened to the project, we will be looking for grants and we'll be able to go international." Her excitement peaked as she ended expressing her thanks, "I really like to thank everybody for all their hard work. I thank NICH, IA and the Minister Heredia for allowing this project to become a reality for the people of San Pedro and for the people of Belize".

Mr. George Thompson, Associate Director for Planning and Policy and the Acting Director at IA stated, "We'll continue with the work and to do our very best to do all the things necessary for protection and preservation; and to provide all the necessary infrastructure that is reasonably necessary for the full enjoyment of these archeological resources."

The first SI that was signed was to declare the reserve opened to the public. It also gives stakeholders the legal mechanism to put all things necessary in place for the proper management and the responsible use and enjoyment of the site. Strategic planning can now commence for the necessary infrastructure and management presence at the site. This would include having park rangers to administer the site, the creation of trails, visitor centers, restroom facilities, parking facilities and all other amenities needed for the site to be run efficiently.

The site will be managed by the MGMSAC Ltd Group. This would include the collection of fees and the daily running of the site. Entrance fees have been set at $20 for foreigners and $10 for locals. A date has not been set for the completion of the infrastructure needed in order to properly operate the site, however all that can be said, is that the partners have pledged to work together to make it happen. To read up on the cool findings and happenings at Marco Gonzalez go to the following link on our blog:

San Pedro Sun

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