The Bahamas National Trust
The Bahamas National Trust was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959. The efforts of two groups of conservationists brought about the drafting and passing of the Act. Both groups in different arenas had been rallying for the conservation of natural resources in The Bahamas. Throughout the years the BNT was further developed.
Standing Committees were established as a means of harnessing the enthusiasm and expertise of members. Critical programs were initiated, many of which - such as the White Crowned Pigeon Management and School Education Programs - continue today.
Most importantly, the Trust has continued with remarkable success to build the Bahamas National Parks System. During the 70s, 80s, and 90s new sites were steadily added and at the close of the 20th Century 12 National Parks existed, encompassing 315,000 marine and terrestrial acres.
On April 30, 2002 the system was doubled in size when 10 new sites were designated as National Parks and the total acreage jumped to more than 700,000 acres. Today there are 27 National Parks protecting well over 1 million acres.
The Bahamas National Trust has a proud history. It is due in part to the wisdom of its founders but also to the energy and dedication of its members and staff over the years.
The Bahamas National Trust will be implementing new User Fees as of September 1, 2014. The new user fees will assist the Bahamas National Trust with covering its annual operating expenses, infrastructural upgrades, strengthening capacity for enforcement and expanding education and outreach initiatives throughout its national parks system.
Today there are 6 National Parks in the Abacos:
Fowl Cays National Park
Established: 2009 | Size: 1,920 Acres
Fowl Cays National Park is a 1,920-acre reserve that is conveniently reached from most central Abaco Cays and settlements. The park has steadily become attractive to scuba divers and is an extremely popular area for local boating and snorkeling. The reefs and three 25′ to 40′ dive spots in untouched water are renowned.
Walker’s Cay National Park
Established: 2002 | Size: 3,840 Acres
The northernmost island in the Bahamas. Walker’s Cay is fringed by its own barrier reef. The stunning coral formations and surrounding marine environment host schools of pompano and amberjack, large marine predators, such as sharks and barracudas, multitudes of colorful tropical fish, turtles and eagle rays. Renowned for underwater cathedrals teeming with unprecedented concentrations of fish, visibility that reaches 100 feet and an endless variety of marine life, this underwater paradise is a mecca for divers
Black Sound Cay National Reserve
Established: 1988 | Size: 2 Acres
Black Sound Cay National Reserve is a mangrove reserve nestled in the northern bank of Black Sound in the southeastern section of Abaco’s historic Green Turtle Cay. This miniature park comprises a thick stand of mangrove vegetation and is an important habitat to waterfowl and other avifauna which winter in the region. Neotropical migrants that have been recorded feeding in and around the Cay are Painted bunting, Indigo buntings, American redstarts, Black and White warblers, and Magnolia warblers.
Tilloo Cay Reserve
Established: 1990 | Size: 11 Acres
Tilloo Cay National Reserve is a 11 acre area of tropical shoreline on Tilloo Cay off the eastern side of Great Abaco south of Elbow Cay. It is an area of outstanding beauty. The shoreline is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and is an important nesting site and breeding ground for the Tropic Bird, Yellow-crowned night heron, several species of terns and also other seabirds.
Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park
Established: 1972 | Size: 2,100 Acres
Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park was established in 1972. This land and sea park consists of four small cays and the water around them totaling 2,100 acres. It includes Channel Rock, Gaulding Cay and the southern portion of Sandy Cay. It lies approximately eight miles north of Cherokee Sound, Abaco.
On the seaward side of Sandy Cay lies the focal point of interest of the Park, Sandy Cay Reef, one of the most popular snorkeling reefs for tourist and an area of great beauty and diversity. The Park contains stunning undersea caves, extensive coral reefs and is noted for its fish, plant and animal life.
Abaco National Park
Established: 1994 | Size: 20, 500 Acres
The Abaco National Park was a significant addition to the National Park system of The Bahamas. When it was established in 1994 it was the first major park to be created in over 20 years!
Although the Bahama Parrot had been protected by law for some years the inadequate enforcement of laws and destruction of their habitat resulted in dwindling numbers of animals. The Abaco National Park renders the habitat of the Abaco parrot protected and conserves it in perpetuity. This 20,500 acre park is located on the southeastern portion of Abaco Island between Hole in the Wall and Crossing Rocks and includes 5,000 acres of pine forest..