Chaguaramas seeks National Park Status

national-park

On April 18, the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) along with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) will launch a Project to collect baseline data on game species, (Agouti, Quenk, Red Brocket Deer, Lappe and Tattoo) on the Chaguaramas Peninsula as part of the National Wildlife Survey (NWS). The information gathered will be used to inform the establishment of the Chaguaramas Peninsula as a National Park.

Over the next two years, the CDA will focus on the development of an Environmental Management Plan built on international best practices for National Park Management.  The NWS will inform these plans as the CDA moves to become ISO 14000 Environmental Management Certified and to achieve National Park status.

The NWS is significant, as it is the first to be done on a national level and on the five game species mentioned above. The NWS is an initiative of the EMA through the National Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, Wildlife and Livelihoods Project, a Green Fund Project. The Survey is part of the Wildlife Conservation component of the Project that also tracks flora and fauna through a holistic program that feeds into a management plan for environmentally-sensitive areas (ESA).

Key stakeholders on the survey include the University of the West Indies, a Wildlife Consultant and, most importantly, environmental groups, community-based organisations and hunters’ groups.  The involvement of these groups is critical to the validity of the data as well as capacity building for the groups.

As a key player in eco-tourism development in the Caribbean, the CDA is excited to partner with the EMA on this key national environmental preservation and management initiative. Over the next three years, the EMA plans to expand the Environmental Management Police Unit as well as train persons from the neighbouring communities as Environmental Officers.  This not only creates job opportunities for our neighbouring communities, but also provides support for the guiding vision of the Chaguaramas Integrated Development Master Plan.

CDA’s vision for development is informed by the National Spatial Development Strategy (NSDS). As the only National Park in Trinidad and Tobago, Chaguaramas will continue to be celebrated and upheld as an area for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and visitors to enjoy and appreciate the country’s natural beauty. All development, land management and land use will be based on preservation, enhancement and enjoyment for all.

Focused on preserving the flora and fauna, historical and cultural content of Chaguaramas, the new National Park Designation will confirm that 52 percent of the total land area will be denominated as Protected Areas, with an additional 36 percent designated as Restricted Use Buffer Zones.

The development of a comprehensive plan for conservation, restoration and interpretation of all historical and archeological sites on the Peninsula, will also form part of the Chaguaramas Integrated Development Master Plan. With this initiative, we are confident that the future preservation of the northwestern peninsula will redound to the benefit of all citizens and visitors to this national treasure.

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