PACT Project Funds used Towards the Creation of New Nature Center
Belmopan City, Belize. (Wednesday, 8 Feb. 2017) – Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park (SHBHNP) just got an upgrade. Today, the Trust was on hand as the Belize Audubon Society (BAS)unveiled its new nature center at the national park. Delivering the keynote address was Dr. Omar Figueroa – Minister of the State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration. “This national park, while relatively small in size, is an important component of the larger network of protected areas. It is important ecologically, and it is important socially.” Dr. Figueroa also applauded the Belize Audubon Society for mobilizing and engaging the buffer communities of Ringtail, Armenia and St. Margaret over the course of the project.
Saint Herman’s was declared a national park in December 1986. It is co-managed by the Belize Audubon Society and the Government of Belize. It is one of 18 national parks within the National Protected Areas System (NPAS). The area of the reserve is roughly 575 acres and is a popular spot for picnicking, cave exploration, swimming and bird-watching. Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park gets its name from a clear deep pool which is a stunning, sapphire blue.
During the 2014 grants cycle, the Board of Directors of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) approved the following proposal put forward by BAS: to ‘enhance St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park’ through new infrastructure, mapping of the area that forms the National Park as well as the creation of a 5 year management plan. A total of BZ $204,998.75 was approved for the expansion and renovation of the swimming platform and to replace the railing near the swimming areas as well as to create new restroom facilities at both park entrances. Funds were needed to complete and furnish the Nature Center with displays and signs and so in 2016 a large grant for a total of BZ $419,936.74 was approved for the Belize Audubon Society to provide for the long term sustainability across three renowned conservation areas in Belize – one of which is Saint Herman’s. This project will focus on creating financial sustainability through the provision of a gift shop and ticket booth among other objectives.