Bacalar Chico Trails Inaugurated

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 13            March 30, 2005

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Green Reef, with the assistance of a London based volunteer group, Trekforce, spent six weeks working tirelessly to cut and clear an eighteen-kilometer nature trail at the Bacalar Chico National Park. The group of young men and women took on the task of making the nature trail a possibility; they even lodged at the park making themselves their very own palapa that they call “the ark.” Trekforce expeditions is a charity based organization aimed at helping with community and science based projects.

     Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve is located at the northernmost part of Ambergris Caye. The Park contains a diverse range of terrestrial (land-based) environments that are host to an even greater number of wildlife species. These include endangered and threatened species such as the Jaguar, Puma, and Bush dog. Bacalar also has a long history of cultural importance dating back to the Mayan Indians. Archeological studies conducted in the area found that this region once supported several trading, agricultural, and fishing settlements established by the ancient Maya.

     The coastal region of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve supports many unique natural characteristics, such as Rocky Point. This point is the only location in Belize where the Belize Barrier Reef touches the shoreline and hosts nesting activity by Loggerhead, Green, and Hawksbill sea turtles. The offshore marine habitat of the Reserve is also an important breeding area for Queen Conch, as well as a seasonal spawning bank for Nassau Groupers, Black Groupers, Yellowfin Groupers, Mutton Snapper, Dog Snapper, Cubera Snapper, Yellow-tail Snappers, White Margate, Horse-eye Jacks, Permit, Yellow Jacks, and a variety of other reef fishes.

     Bacalar Chico has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique geographical features and variety of its flora and fauna. With the work completed and the trail visible, Director for Green Reef, Mito Paz, along with Councilor Joseph Elijio, Manager for the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce, Jules Escalante, and Hol Chan rangers traveled to the Bacalar Chico to inaugurate the trail. The leader of the Trekforce expeditions, Joseph Rowles, along with some volunteers, gave the San Pedro group a tour of the trail. Mito Paz took time to express his sincere gratitude to the Trekforce team. He made a toast to them and thanked them for all the work and dedication that they put into the project to make it a reality.



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