Plans to establish a Barbados National Park are still on stream as stakeholders continue to work on establishing a strategic communications plan.
Director of the Natural Heritage Department (NHD), Steve Devonish, said giving the title of National Park to an area was one that required serious internal and external strategic communication and development.
Speaking after a Sustainable Land Management workshop at the Savannah Hotel recently, Mr. Devonish said: "Locally we have to get the wording and classification right… It is something we have to do within ministries and within departments before we go external to the greater public."
"It is not the Farley Hill National Park…It is the mixing up of names again. It is the Farley Hill Park, but when you talk about national park planning, it is used in a different concept," the Director explained.
He cited the example of the Farley Hill Park being marketed as a national park when this was not the case. He contended that in the absence of effective communication, this could be confusing to a visitor with an understanding of a national park concept.
Mr. Devonish pointed out that the national park concept was one that spoke to all open spaces in Barbados. "For example, you have places called natural heritage conservation areas which would be the buffer zones or protection areas around Barbados’ number one attraction – Harrison’s Cave.
"Graeme Hall Sanctuary is another recommendation or idea of what is a natural heritage or conservation area; [along with] Chancery Lane and Long Pond," he said.
Mr. Devonish added there were also attractions such as Harrison’s Cave and the Barbados Flower Forest, and recreational spaces such as the parks and spaces looked after by the National Conservation Commission.
"So, the national park planning system is a way of categorising all external recreational spaces," he said.
The national park starts north as far as Archer’s Bay, St. Lucy, goes on to Consett Bay, St. John, and includes most of the Scotland District. It is found mainly on the eastern side of Barbados and includes such locations as Hillaby, Turner’s Hall and Belleplaine, St. Andrew.
However, the NHD Director pointed out that the concepts of national parks and protected areas were not new to Barbados. "For instance, the recently inscribed Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison is a protected area. Under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, we may not call it a national park, but if we remove the concept of national park planning it is the same thing.
"It is just another protected area and the same principles and urgency that must be given to Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison now has to be given to the Scotland District and the Barbados national park planning system," Mr. Devonish added.