The National Trust for the Cayman Islands recognises the value of the George Town Ironwood Forest and associated surrounding area and, is concerned about its preservation.
The Trust welcomes the efforts of our present Government to solve this issue and is delighted to accept its offer to transfer a portion of the Crown Land to the Trust to allow its preservation in perpetuity.
Much of the forest is contained on Crown-owned property, however, a significant portion is privately owned. The Trust understands that, if a section of private land adjacent to the Crown Land were to become available for purchase by the Government, that it too could be given to the Trust to enlarge the preserved area.
The forest area although small is extremely diverse holding over 70 Red List plants that are endangered, critically endangered and/or endemic including Ironwood, Chionanthus caymanensis and Hohenbergia caymanensis. In addition, there are many culturally and historically significant plants in the forest such as West Indian Cedar, Candlewood and Smoke Wood. This forest and its surrounding area provide sanctuary to many resident and endemic birds and butterflies, and migratory species.
For the past six years, various members of the Trust have been involved in attempts to have the Crown property preserved through meetings with various members of government both past and present. To this end, two enhanced road plans with various roundabouts and feeder roads which would have resulted in severe loss of the forest were abandoned.
Whilst recognising the need for the extension of the Linford Pierson bypass, as well as a landowner’s right to develop his/her property within the confines of the law, the National Trust encourages the Government and the landowners to come to an agreement that would benefit all concerned parties as well as future generations. With its proximity to many schools, and by making it accessible with boardwalks and interpretive signs, the forest could serve as a living classroom where students could learn our natural history and culture.
It is our hope that with the Government leading the way, private land owners will follow and, that over time, with the cooperation of all concerned a significant portion of the Ironwood forest could be preserved.
The National Trust