We’ve known for a long time that the historic trail is a national treasure, but now we are going to get a detailed analysis of its actual value to the territory.
A scientist from the United Kingdom has spent a few weeks in Grand Cayman literally combing through the trail and its flora and fauna.
While we already know that preserving the trail for the protection of the plant and animal life there is important, Michael MacDonald from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has also been looking at the trail’s value to the Cayman Islands in terms of its carbon storage, water lens and tourism.
We already know the Cayman Islands Tourism Association has estimated gross revenues from Stingray City and Stingray Sandbar tours exceeds US$30 million a year.
It would be nice to have a similar figure attached to the Mastic Trail, which is a historic footpath that runs from North Side to the southern end of Frank Sound Road.
It is one of the few accessible places left in Grand Cayman where the residents and visitors can explore the interior of the island.
While the National Trust manages 834 acres of the 1,300 acres of the Mastic Forest, it is still under threat from nearby development, specifically of a road.
A 2005 development plan shows the proposed East–West Arterial road extension cutting across the southern portions of the Mastic Trail Reserve and the Salina Reserve – into which blue iguanas are released – on its way to the Colliers area of East End.
We don’t think the development of that road would be good for the Mastic Trail, the iguanas or the territory as a whole.
We welcome the value assessment of the Mastic Trail and hope that it will discourage future development in this historic and important part of the Cayman Islands.
There is a constant hue and cry about maintaining our heritage and culture in the Cayman Islands. Protecting the Mastic Trail can only assist.