Monday, April 13, 2015

Keeping Belize a natural paradise

Belize continues to gain attention as a destination for U.S. travelers. No wonder—its coral reef, second largest barrier reef in the world, is a favorite location for divers and snorkelers, and everyone enjoys its sandy beaches and lush jungle landscapes.
The coral reef is spectacular in crystal clear waters of the
coast of Belize.
But vacationing in Belize means more than just luxuriating in a beautiful setting. If you like to see conservation at work consider traveling to the MayflowerBocawina National Park in Belize. Consisting of more than 7,000 acres of pristine lowland broadleaf forest at the base of the Maya Mountains, this national park is the perfect setting for ecotourism. Not only does it offer visitors refreshing waterfalls, ancient Mayan ruins, excellent bird watching, and verdant hiking trails, but its goal is to improve the environment as well as lives of local people.

White sand beaches attract visitors to Belize.
While visitors may enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in this unspoiled paradise such as rappelling waterfalls, swimming in natural pools, exploring archeological sites, and zipping on the longest line in Central America, it’s not all rough and tumble.  When the national park was created in 2001, it completely surrounded the 50-acre Mama Noots Resort, an ecological project that runs entirely on alternative energy generated by solar panels and hydroelectric power. As a resort that is completely “off the grid,” Mama Noots utilizes a variety of sustainable practices including growing food items used in the on-site restaurant, covering buildings with thatched roofs made from locally sourced materials, and using exterior lights with motion detection to minimize light pollution that affects normal patterns of nocturnal animals.
Jungle landscape and peaceful rivers entice visitors
to the interior of Belize.
The national park and private resort have a unique symbiotic connection: Without the resort and accompanying Bocawina Adventures Company (which maps and maintains trails and provides ecotours both onsite and off site), the park wouldn’t have money to keep it safe from hunters and loggers. With limited funds available, there are only two rangers for the entire national park. But, as more people come to enjoy the beauty of this amazing ecosystem, the chances of vanishing illegal hunting and logging in the area increase.

A local documentary has been created by Duarte Dellarole to educate people about the conservation needs of the national park and efforts to keep this place as beautiful as nature created it.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

1 comment:

Elaine Masters said...

Belize, and diving there, are high on my bucket list. Nice to hear about this resort and their efforts to keep the natural habitats intact.