National Trust buys more land

The National Trust purchased two significant pieces of land during the past financial year, adding to the total held in perpetuity for the people of the Cayman Islands.

At the Trust’s annual general meeting last Friday, general manager Frank Roulstone announced that the Trust bought 84.5 acres in Cayman Brac and 60 acres in the area of the Mastic Trail.

Mr. Roulstone said the Brac land was important because it previously had split the Parrot Reserve. The Trust now holds seven parcels totalling 281.6 acres of primary forest from the north edge to the south edge of the bluff in the middle of Cayman Brac.

With the pace of road construction and development, the acquisition came none too soon, he said.

The 60 acres on Grand Cayman are in the area known as the Mastic Reserve. This parcel contains a significant stretch of trail on the southern end and has a varied landscape, including buttonwood swamp, royal palm forest and dry rocky woodland, Mr. Roulstone detailed.

The two purchases bring the total land held by the Trust to 2,415 acres. Portions include over 600 acres in the Salina Reserve of East End to less than two acres at the Governor Gore Bird Sanctuary in Savannah-Newlands.

Total acreage is less than four per cent of the Cayman Islands’ land mass, which is 64,000 acres.

Protected areas in the Caribbean region average 11.7 per cent of land mass, while the internationally accepted standard is 12 per cent. This comparison was noted in the Trust annual report, which cited the 2003 United Nations List of Protected Areas as its source.

The report was distributed during the meeting.

Members also heard from Carla Reid, chairperson, who reminded all citizens and residents that the National Trust belongs to them. The property it owns and all it does is for the benefit of the people of these islands, she said.

Mrs. Reid also reminded members that Cayman as yet has no legislation to safeguard remaining historic sites and buildings, or to protect parks, forests or other environmentally significant land areas.

She called the Development Plan for Grand Cayman outdated, but said it was more worrying that there is no Development Plan for the Sister Islands at all.

‘I feel it is our duty to urge our Government to address these issues in a timely manner so that the history, heritage and natural beauty of our islands can be preserved while continuing to attract visitors as well as new residents,’ she said.

Mrs. Reid thanked staff and volunteers for their hard work throughout the year. She acknowledged government and private sector financial support.

She urged members to continue being involved to ensure that Cayman’s history and environment are protected for present and future generations to celebrate, learn from and enjoy.

Projects and programmes

Projects and properties that come under the umbrella of the National Trust include:

Blue Iguana Recovery programme

Bodden Town Mission House

Governor Gore Bird Sanctuary

Brac Eldemire Home

Little Cayman Booby Pond Nature Reserve

Bat conservation

Wildlife rescue and rehab

Activities offered include

Mangrove boat trips

Mastic Trail hikes

Coral reef exploration for children

Cooking classes

Traditional homes presentations

School presentations