A new land purchase by the National Trust of the Cayman Islands has expanded its holdings for the Mastic Reserve with the addition of 173 acres of wetland interspersed with some dry forested sections.
Made possible by a significant donation from Maples Finance Limited in addition to existing land reserve funds, it is the single largest onetime addition to the Mastic Reserve. Purchased from an overseas landowner, the new piece brings the Reserve to a total area of 776 acres, up from its original size of 144 acres when it was first established in 1992.
‘This new addition is an environmentally significant piece of land, as it forms the beginning of the drainage basin of the central mangrove wetland,’ says National Trust General Manager Frank Roulstone.
The Mastic Reserve in North Side protects part of the largest joining area of untouched, old growth dry forest remaining on Grand Cayman.
The Trust says this area and other similar regions of forest in Cayman are of international significance representing some of the last remaining examples of the Caribbean’s subtropical, semi deciduous dry forest, which have been the target of intense deforestation throughout the West Indies. As the Cayman Islands continues to rapidly develop, these forests are at an increasingly higher risk of extinction.
‘Being able to protect this area for future generations means a lot for Cayman’s environment,’ says Mr. Roulstone.
‘That’s because not only are we protecting the land from development, but the wetlands in this area play an important role in adding essential nutrients to the water in the North Sound, the water that a lot of Cayman’s aquatic life depends on.’
Mr. Roulstone says construction of a boardwalk will be required to make the new land’s wet terrain accessible to the general public.
‘Obviously, it would be nice to make it more accessible in the future, as this land is now owned by all of the people of the Cayman Islands whether they support the National Trust or not,’ he says.
Mr. Roulstone says preserving the Mastic Reserve is not only of significant environmental importance but of cultural importance.
‘The area is home to a wide variety of animals and plants unique to these islands, the habitat serves to protect biodiversity that has almost vanished due to widespread development,’ he said.
‘This is truly a remarkable achievement for our organization and a tribute to the generosity of the community, as contributions from businesses such as Maples Finance Limited will have a lasting impact on this country, as well as the Caribbean.’
Henry Harford, a director of Maples Finance Limited is happy the company was able to assist in the land purchase.
‘We are very committed to the local community and to preserving Cayman’s heritage. It is important to everyone who calls these islands home that we safeguard these forests,’ he said.
Allen Bloomrosen, a broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty led the closing.
“This is a great day – and something Frank, Board Chair Carla Reid and I have been working on for quite some time,’ he said.
‘At Coldwell Banker we are very pleased to be able to help the National Trust save land that will forever be preserved for the benefit of all of the Caymanian people. This effort started over 5 years ago – and with hard work and patience it has finally paid off,’ he said.