Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 25 of 83

26 | T he Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is a unique organization created by a historic act of Parliament in 1959 to protect natural places and conserve natural resources in The Bahamas. As a non-governmental, non-profit membership organization, it relies on donations, including a government grant, to protect our natural resources by building a network of national parks and promoting environmental stewardship. Were it not for a series of serendipitous events decades ago, many of the most precious natural resources in The Bahamas might have been lost forever. One of those events was an effort by conservationists and marine scientists to protect a large section of the Exuma Cays, which was at the point of being acquired by private interests for possible development. This led to the establishment of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP), the first national park in The Bahamas, and the first land and sea park in the world. The birthplace of conservation in The Bahamas. Influential government leaders supported this initiative but realized there was no chance of a small country like The Bahamas (population 109,000 in 1960) dedicating sufficient public resources to make it work. There was also the fact that the entire marine territory of The Bahamas is owned and controlled by the government. And about 70% of the land area (including wetlands and undeveloped pine forest) was ungranted Crown land. So they crafted an entity that had significant input from—but was not under the control of—government. They did this through legislation that made the BNT a unique statutory organization with full access to the scientific and private donor world. The BNT's 29-member governing council includes 14 seats for prestigious conservation and scientific institutions (like the US National Park Service, the American Museum of Natural History, National Audubon Society and the University of Miami, as well as representative Bahamian government agencies). Aerial view of the southern end of Warderick Wells, White Bay and Pirate's Lair in the ECLSP. Photo by Colin Ruggiero.

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