The Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism/Organization of American States Project "Integrated Development in Grenada", was directed to prepare a policy and plan for national parks and protected areas for the Country. The policy provides the basis for the establishment and management of a national parks and protected areas program.
Various documents dating to the original explorers and colonizers of the Islands of Grenada and Carriacou note the majestic beauty, lush tropical forests, and varied topography. Now fondly referred to as "the Spice Island", Grenada has been coined the prettiest island in the Caribbean.
Grenada has numerous areas of outstanding natural and cultural value. Proposals for individual parks have been made by international organizations including The Caribbean Conservation Association, Eastern Caribbean Natural Areas Management Program, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the World Wildlife Fund; and the National Trust, Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism and the Grenada Hotel Association on a national level. This document attempts to present a realistic national protected areas program for Cabinet approval.
The purpose of the system plan is to identify and provide a course of action for the protection and use of the Country's outstanding natural and cultural heritage and to encourage public understanding, appreciation and use of that heritage in ways which leave it unimpaired for future generations. Of equal importance, the National Parks Programme is to promote and guarantee a continual flow of social and economic benefits to the Grenadian people.
Five management categories have been defined within the system: National Parks, Natural Landmarks, Protected Seascapes, Multiple use Management areas and Cultural Landmarks. The National Parks and Protected Areas System Plan is based on specific criteria such as ecological or geological importance, cultural significance, tourism potential, or recreational value. Units within this system are recommended for establishment by Cabinet. In the case of forest reserves, a sound policy and legislation exists and will remain in effect for the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, and Forest Reserves in Carriacou.
Marine areas are the property of the State. Some of the proposed National Park area is presently managed as a Forest Reserve or is unsurveyed State Land. Most other units within the proposed system are privately owned, therefore necessitating the development of individual management strategies in cooperation with the private owners. The policy allows for private land owners to retain limited management and development rights on parcels of their land, as approved and monitored by the responsible government agency.
Management of the Parks and Protected Areas System will be concerned with the principal function of protection of natural and cultural resources; provision of outdoor recreation, tourism and education programmes; facilities and services; provision of opportunities for research; conservation of watersheds and water production, control of sedimentation and erosion and protection of downstream investments; production of marine products, timber, forage and wildlife on a sustained yield basis; provision of sport fishing and hunting opportunities; and in stimulating use of marginal rural areas.
Management and development plans will eventually be prepared for each unit within the system. As appropriate, specialized plans for interpretive and environmental education or research and environmental monitoring will be prepared for those units where the circumstances or objectives warrant such. Plans will be evaluated on a regular basis in order to improve both planning and execution.
The responsible management agency will develop a short and long-term funding strategy to finance the system and its activities. Components of the strategy will include funds allocated by Government; an effort to obtain financial and technical assistance from various international and bilateral sources and financial support from the national private sector; and, the establishment of special protected areas development and management funds based upon a set of fees charged to users and beneficiaries of the national system of parks and protected areas. Initially a fairly heavy reliance will be placed on international and bilateral support.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism will be delegated the responsibility for the planning, management and protection of areas within the parks and protected areas system. Extensive collaboration and coordination with a number of other public and private agencies will be developed to support those efforts.