LC nature park in the works

Little Cayman is already famous for having the largest colony of Booby birds in the Western Hemisphere.

There are estimated to be around 20,000 in the beautiful Booby Pond Nature reserve, which is a wetland of international importance and an officially designated Ramsar site.

Now, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands wants to expand upon this eco-friendly attraction and create a nature park adjacent to the pond.

The 4.5-acre site, which is earmarked for the park, was used as a rubbish-tip until 1993 and has lain unused since then.

‘We would like to plant native trees and shrubs so that the area can be enjoyed by everyone,’ said Gladys Howard, chairman of the Trust’s Little Cayman committee.

Endemic trees and shrubs will be taken from areas being destroyed by road construction and development and replanted in the park, as well as being grown by propagation from cuttings and seeds.

A series of self-guided walking trails with interpretative signs will be laid among the plants to allow residents and tourists to enjoy the rehabilitated habitats which are expected to attract birds and butterflies.

Specified areas have been set aside for a black mangrove and ironwood forest, a woodland for iguanas and a medicinal garden.

There will also be a salt-tolerant woodland, and a butterfly and small birds garden.

Resting stations will be incorporated to allow visitors to view the plant and wildlife.

In addition, there are plans to conserve and display any historical artefacts found in the former landfill site.

A guide for the nature park will be produced and available at the National Trust Visitors Centre which is adjacent to the proposed reserve.

‘Once the plants are established they should require very little maintenance as they are native and therefore already adapted to the environment,’ said Ms Howard.

The Trust has applied to the Swiss-based 2006 Rolex Awards for Enterprise for the US$100,000 funding necessary for the project.

The outcome of the application is not expected until May of next year.