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Belize Audubon Society opens five parks

Posted: Monday, November 7, 2022. 11:14 am CST.

Photo Credit: BAS

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize Audubon Society (BAS) has opened five of the seven parks it manages after the passage of Hurricane Lisa. The parks that have been open are Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Half Moon Caye, and the Blue Hole Monument. The Guanacaste National Park and Victoria Peak Natural Monument are closed.

BAS Executive Director Amanda Acosta said the Cockscomb Sanctuary and the Blue Hole Natural Monument had no damage.

“St. Herman’s has fallen trees, so we’ve cleared the main path for people so they can go, but we’re still trying to control traffic to the cave,” Acosta said. “There is some tubing that people do, so we’ve cleared the way. We didn’t have infrastructure damage. Our buildings and our staff quarters are all fine, but it’s a lot of fallen trees.”

Guanacaste is the most affected and still closed.

“Guanacaste is closed because the river is too high and we don’t want people to go in since it’s so close to the river and we do have a lot of fallen trees, more than elsewhere,” Acosta said.

“Guanacaste is one of the most affected in terms of the terrestrial parks.”

The Belize Audubon Society said its staff at the Guanacaste National Park is an example of exemplary dedication to nature and conservation.

“There have been downed trees that could cause a danger to visitors. The rangers have been cutting branches, clearing paths, and removing debris after Hurricane Lisa had passed the area,” said the BAS in a social media post.

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is open but is minimally accessible.

“Crooked Tree still has water from the other day. It’s technically open,” said Acosta.

“It didn’t get hurricane damage but from the flooding a few weeks ago, all of that water came down into the Belize River Valley and the causeway at Crooked Tree has about six to seven inches of water on top of it. So, it’s minimally accessible. If your vehicle can’t drive through that, you can’t get in there.

“Half Moon Caye did have damage as well, but we have opened it for guests. The tourist area where the picnic tables are, we’ve raked and cleaned up. But we did have some other structures on the island that did get damaged, but the dive boats can go out there to the Blue Hole and Half Moon.”

As for the Victoria Peak Natural Monument, it’s seasonal so it’s closed now.

“Victoria Peak you can access it through Cockscomb, but Victoria Peak is seasonal,” Acosta said.

“We don’t do it during the rainy season; we do it during the dry season because it’s high-risk hiking … three days. It’s open from February to June.”


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