On March 22nd, 2019, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Hubbert A. Minnis MP, delcared a new level of protection for the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area and assigned The Minister of the Envioronment and Housing the Honorable Romauld Ferreira, to dedicate the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area as a newly protected forest under the British Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
Combined with the already designated Conservation Forest (see updates below from August 2015) this now gives the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area TWO levels of protection and conservation and we are honored that the South Abaco blue Holes Conservation Area would be THE forest that would best reperesent the country of the Bahamas.
The BCRF will now put it's efforts toward the 3rd and final level of protection by pursuing the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area's designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For conservation, there is no high level of protection or significance as a protected area and we will continue to move toward this goal until it is completed. Wish us luck!!
Forestry Assistant Terrance Rodgers and BCRF Founder/President Brian Kakuk install the new Conservation Forest signs at the SABHCA
HUGE Update! In August of 2015, the Forestry Department of the Bahamas in accordance with the Bahamas Environment Science and Technologies Commission (BEST) declared nearly 33,000 acres (our original proposal) as a newly protected Conservation Forest.
Conservation Forest is the highest level of protection for Bahamian Forests, and this site has been dubbed the new South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area!
This has been a long, hard, endeavor for the Bahamas Caves Research Foundation and our many partners as well as the international commnunity that supported us with letters of support, articles, and personal contacts with the Bahamian government.
The Board of Directors of the BCRF would like to thank:
Friends of the Environment
The Bahamas Environment Science and Technologies Commission
The Bahamas Department of Forestry
The Bahamas National Trust
The Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation (National Museum of the Bahamas)
and all of our supporters from around the world for your efforts and support on our behalf. WE DID IT!!
Forestry Assistant Terrance Rodgers and a volunteer help to set the road signs to the 3 caves on the SABHCA property
The new road sign in the SABHCA donated by the Bahamas Caves Research Foundation
Date: 7/22/13 Borders of Proposed National Blue Holes Conservation Area Changed
The borders of the proposed SABHCA on Abaco have been reduced and this proposal has been resubmitted. Currently the proposal is under review by the Director of Forestry and by the new Minister of the Environment the RH Kenred Dorsett. The proposal now asks for 5 square miles of land to protect more than 9 miles of underwater passages. Not much else in the proposal has changed. We hope that the Minister will find this change acceptable and move forward with this Proposal. See the link in blue below for the latest version of the proposal.
Date: 11/2/11 Proposal reviewed by BNT and BEST
The South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area proposal has now passed through two different review processes.The first was through the Director of Parks at the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) where it was reviewed before sending on to the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST).
The proposal was then further reviewed by BEST and suggestions made before moving up to the office Minister of The Environment where it is now being further evaluated.We hope the Minister, the Honorable Earl Deveaux, will agree that this area is one of the Bahamas most irreplaceable natural wonders.We also hope supporters of this proposal will relay their concern for these amazing caves directly to the Minister himself at every opportunity.We are still moving forward!Thank you to everyone who has assisted us in this two year long journey (so far)!
Date: 2/4/11 Draft of the SABHCA Proposal and Update We have completed our final round of gathering letters of support during our efforts at the ART FOR THE PARKS event in Marsh Harbor. A very special thanks to Frank Croft for gathering signatures from prominent Bahamian figures on Abaco and to Brigitte Carey for being a signature gathering "machine" at the Bahamas National Trust's ART FOR THE PARKS event. We now believe we have what we need to send to Dr Earl. Deveaux, the Minister of the Environment of the Bahamas. Keep your fingers crossed! Please click on the link below to view a pdf draft of the proposal.
Date: 21 November 20, 2010 The current status of the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area (SABHCA) The final town meetings were conducted on 19th and 20th of October.The first was held in the settlement of Crossing Rocks at the Crossing Rocks School with 18 persons in attendance.Presentations were given by BCRF Projects Coordinator Nancy Albury, and BCRF Director Brian Kakuk.Comments were also made by the Abaco Bahamas National Trust representative Mr. David Knowles.The presentation was well received and many questions were answered. The second meeting was specifically targeted at the hunters of Abaco on the 20th of October at the Friends of the Environment building in Marsh Harbor.Unfortunately this meeting was only attended by two of the hunters, though verbal support has been given by many other members of the Abaco hunting community. With these two meetings complete, our SABHCA “package” is now complete and all letters of support and survey forms are now being compiled for addition to the already submitted proposal.The fate of the proposal is now in the hands of the Bahamas National Trust who will submit it to the Minister of the Environment through the Bahamas Environment Science and Technologies Commission (BEST Commission).After this, it will be taken to cabinet for voting.
Jill Heinerth Jill Heinerth has written an excellent article for Diver Magazine which follows BCRF’s partnership with the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation and National Geographic over the last year, which culminated with images and data that have directly supported the SABHCA proposal.Her stunning images will surely bring even more international support for this project. You can view Jill's article HERE
Schooner Bay A presentation on the SABHCA proposal was given by Brian Kakuk at the new Schooner Bay development which lies on the eastern side of the road from the proposed park area.The presentation was given to Mr. Orjan Lindroth of the Lindroth Development Company and Mr. Keith Bishop, Schooner Bay’s Coastal and Environmental Director as well as several other Schooner Bay employees.The outcome of that presentation was a donation from Schooner Bay in the form of lumber and other materials for the construction of steps, platforms and picnic tables at 3 of the inland blue hole sites within the proposed park.Also donated was the availability of a small generator and expertise from the Schooner Bay team in the actual construction of the platforms, steps and tables!The BCRF and all our partners in the SABHCA project would like to give a huge thank you to Schooner Bay for this amazing donation.We hope that these items will benefit all who come to see these amazing natural wonders that are literally across the street from the Schooner Bay Project.
THANK YOU! We would like to thank everyone who has supported this proposal from its inception including the Friends of the Environment Marine Committee, Miss Olivia Patterson, Michael and Nancy Albury, Mr. David Knowles, Mr. Eric Carey, Mrs. Lynn Gape, Mrs. Tamica Rahming, Mrs. Marie Donker, Buddy and Cindy Pinder, Mrs. Kay Palitano, Mrs. Cha Boyce, Mrs. Anita Knowles, Mrs. D’Shan Maycock, Mr. Michael Pateman, Dr. Keith Tinker, Mr. Keith Bishop, Mr Orjan Lindroth, Schooner Bay, Mr. Ricky Johnson,Mr. Phillip Weech and many others who have sent letters of support or supplied us with images to support our cause including Mr. Wes Skiles, Mrs. Jill Heinerth, and Mr. Arek Pers.
Date: July 14, 2010 The South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area (SABHCA) proposal was delivered to Mr. Eric Carey, Director of the Bahamas National Trust today. We received an e-mail back from Mr. Carey thanking us for all of our hard work on conservation of blue holes and underwater caves and stated that the document would be reviewed by himself and his staff by the 26th of July. After that, the document will be handed over to the Minister of the Environment, the Honorable Dr. Earl Deveaux for review and hopefully submission to cabinet. This will be a long process but we feel like we really have momentum at this time. Thanks to all who have submitted letters of support thus far.
We have had letters from all over the world including Japan, China, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Canada, UK and the USA. A special thanks goes out to Curt Bowen of Advanced Diver Magazine who posted a form letter of support on his on-line magazine and his forums. We had over 200 letters in less than 72 hours! THANK YOU ALL!
Our efforts will now concentrate on letters of support back here in the Bahamas. We need prominant Bahamians to step up and let the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister of the Bahamas know that this conservation area is something that Bahamains want, more specifically, it is something that Abaconians want in their back yard so that they may continue to hunt, fish, play and conducted tourism businesses on the lands, blue holes and creeks within the proposed boundaries without the threat of logging, quarrying or development taking away these precious resources.
The Bahamas Caves Research Foundation has partnered with the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation, The Friends of the Environment, and The Bahamas National Trust in an effort to set aside a large area of Crown pineland as well as creek and bay areas that contain some of the most highly decorated underwater caves on earth.
The area includes at least 17 cave entrances including:
Reel Breaker Blue Hole
Starfish Blue Hole 1
Starfish Blue Hole 2
Glen's Blue Hole North
Glen's Blue Hole South
Quarry Blue Hole
Crossing Rocks Blue Hole
Little Vortex Blue Hole
Canal Blue Hole
Unfu-fu Blue Hole
Nowhere Blue Hole
Stingray Blue Hole Stumble Blue Hole
All totaled, these sites represent more than 10.3 miles of underwater passages, and most sites have multiple opportunities for continued exploration.
Proposal Status: Currently, the partnership has conducted 5 town meetings, one in Marsh Harbor, and one at the Bahamas National Trust office in Nassau. Future meetings will be held in the settlements of:
The partnership is intent on obtaining support and information from each of these local communities prior to submitting the formal proposal in June of 2010. Anyone who may conduct activities in the proposed area is urged to contact us with concerns or support at: Phone: (242) 359-6128 or email@example.com
The regulating agencies that oversee conservation and national parks in the Bahamas have asked us to step up our efforts for the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area. They have requested that we get our proposal to them as soon as possible. Therefore, in order to complete our proposal package, we are requesting letters of support from anyone who is concerned with protecting these amazing place. Please help us preserve the most highly decorated underwater caves on earth by sending your letters of support to Brian Kakuk at: firstname.lastname@example.org