In December 2017, the Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership was approved to receive a second small grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme. The primary purpose of the “Building a Park for the Next Generation” Project is to promote sustainable tourism by developing infrastructure in Moriah Harbour Cay National Park (MHCNP) and by engaging the youth of Great Exuma to envision the benefits of a national park in their community. As the Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership is interested in 1) minimizing the impact of tourism on the biodiversity of the area, 2) education and awareness of visitor and local communities, 3) preserving the natural heritage of Exuma for future generations, and 4) a working collaborative relationship with the Bahamas National Trust, the organization is in favor of pursuing such a project that would specifically benefit youth, the tourism industry, and the Bahamas National Trust.
The Project will focus on those areas within the MHCNP that are likely to receive the most visitation in order to facilitate an experience that is both educational and respectful of the biodiversity that the Park protects. These areas have been identified as the eastern end of Stocking Island (in Elizabeth Harbour), of which 50 acres has now been included in the Park, and Moriah Harbour Cay, the focal point of the Park itself. At each of these locations, the Project will build cabana style structures that will serve as a destination for visitor traffic and install interpretive signage to enhance the educational experience of the visitor.
The Project’s focus on sustainable livelihoods will be emphasized by engaging young men and women from Exuma in a business plan competition, and by holding workshops for high school students and those already in the tourism industry. The workshop for students will introduce the concept of ecotourism and its potential benefits and challenges. The aim of the business plan competition is for each participant to develop an ecotourism business plan that features the benefits of access to Moriah Harbour Cay National Park and all that it protects. All participants will receive guidance in business planning, and the winners will earn an educational tour of national parks in the United States and The Bahamas to explore the impacts of national parks in communities.
Please check back for updates in 2018 on our progress! If you wish to donate to the project, you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org and find more information here about how to get involved. Thank you! Enjoy these images from field trips to our favorite spots in Moriah Harbour Cay National Park!