The Bahamas National Trust has been working with a local NGO on San Salvador, the San Salvador living Jewels, to establish a National Park system on the island to ensure the protection of the Island’s extremely diverse but also fragile ecosystems. This partnership has led to a number of critical areas around the Island being identified as part of the new park system, these 5 areas include:
Great Lake Park:
This park area includes the Great Lake on the interior of the island which will also include the mangroves up to the high water mark. There are at least 3 different types of reptiles living on the islets within the Great Lakes including the highly endangered San Salvador Rock iguana. This area, as a part of the park system, would help to also protect a number of different bird types including some herons and cormorants that nest on the interior.
Pigeon Creek Park:
This area is the only tidal body of water flowing into an inlet on the island. The mangroves and sea grass beds makes it the perfect nursery for all kinds of juvenile marine life, from groupers to starfish, stingrays to sharks and turtles. San Salvador being isolated from the Bahama Banks relies on this area as its main source of fisheries replenishment.
This park area with its extensive sea grass and eel grass beds as well as coral reef serve as a very important breeding ground for conch and other marine animals. It also houses a number of cays such as Green Cay – home to the largest population of San Salvador Rock Iguanas – and also Cato, Gaulin, and White Rock Cay nesting sites for migrating sea birds. San Salvador has more species of sea birds nesting on and around these Cays than any other Island in the Bahamas.
West Coast Dive Site protected Area:
For over 40 years San Salvador has been a dive community. It has been ranked as high as number 3 diving spot in the world by Dive Magazine and Scuba Magazine. Designating this site for protection ensures an increase in the fish populations within the area, which means more for the divers to see, increasing the tourist dollars to this already lucrative market, and ensuring further stimulation of the Islands economy.
Greens Bay Park:
This area protects a major iguana population on Crab Cay. Its rocky shoreline also helps to protect visiting White tailed Tropic Birds and Audubon Shearwaters. The peninsula also helps to protect the reefs from potential dangers from Storrs Lake, a salt pond should it be opened to the sea.
Best of luck to the Bahamas National Trust on this critical endeavor. We look forward to being able to promote these five amazing places as national parks!