Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park Celebrates 25th Anniversary on International Mountain Day


December 11 was International Mountain Day. I would like to write more about the importance of mountains (every day I look up at them from our city), and this year’s theme is quite interesting. Meanwhile, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park – Jamaica’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site – will celebrate its 25th Anniversary on February 25, 2018. Between now and then, there is a special family friendly Christmas celebration at Holywell this coming Sunday, December 17. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

International Mountain Day Launch of 25th Anniversary of the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park

The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), manager of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP) launched the 25th Anniversary of the Park on Monday 11th December 2017, celebrated as International Mountain Day. The event was staged at the Altamont Court Hotel from 3:30pm. The 25th Anniversary of the National Park will take place on February 25th, 2018.

International Mountain Day was designated the 11th of December by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003.  Observed every year, the day highlights as well as creates awareness about the significance of mountains in our environment. They preserve ecosystems, protect and maintain natural resources and sustain the cultural heritage of different peoples and countries globally. This year’s theme is “Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.”

A view in the Blue Mountains. (My photo)

Commemorating International Mountain Day, the JCDT used the opportunity to embark on a journey through time featuring the Blue and John Crow Mountains as a National Park and its significance – especially to Eastern Jamaica. The Launch focused on highlights of the management programmes of the National Park for the first 25 years, inclusive of events and partnerships gained and also a vision for the next 25 years in terms of programmes and specific projects.  The World Heritage Site status of the Park recognises the natural heritage of the mountains and streams with their high biological diversity and numerous endemic plants and animals and the related cultural heritage of the Windward Maroons. The Park has significant potential for sustainable tourism through its recreational areas at Holywell, Portland Gap and the Peak Trail and in the neighbouring communities. JCDT has been working with local communities to ensure they benefit through the promotion of community conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

The National Park was designated and gazetted on 26th February, 1993 under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary, the JCDT has a host of launch activities. Outside of the official launch on the 11th, there is the Christmas Breeze family fun day event set for Sunday December 17th. There will be monthly events starting with the Peak Hike Challenge on January 27th and thereafter groups are invited to call or email the JCDT to arrange their own Peak Hikes. Sunday, February 25th will be the main event at Holywell, Symphony in the Mountains featuring The Abeng Tour and screening of the Nanny, Queen of the Maroons documentary. Symphony in the Mountains will include the Immaculate Conception High School (ICHS) Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston College (KC) Chapel Choir and master drummers from the Charles Town Maroons, and the world premiere of the 4th movement of the Maroon Symphony – Onslaught. This movement tells the story of the Great Maroon War 1728-1739 which ended with the signing of a peace treaty as the British knew they were defeated.

Sponsors on board so far include the Ministry of Tourism/Tourism Enhancement Fund, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and the National Water Commission.

Contact: Dr. Susan Otuokon, Executive Director, Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, manager of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and World Heritage Site. Tel: 1 876 363-7002; email: jamaicaconservation@gmail.com


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