Lucayan National Park Reopens
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) says restoration on grounds still underway
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, January 20, 2020 — Lucayan National Park, a major tourist attraction on Grand Bahama, has officially reopened after a temporary closure caused by hurricane damage. Managed and protected by The Bahamas National Trust (BNT), Lucayan National Park is an eco-lover’s haven, containing one of the longest charted underwater cave systems in the world, as well as every vegetative zone found in The Bahamas all in one park.
BNT representatives have been hard at work since September assessing and repairing park damage, and recently invited The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA) and members of the media to tour the grounds. During the tour, Ellsworth Weir, Grand Bahama parks manager for BNT, said park restoration is ongoing but emphasised that guests are more than welcome to visit.
“We still have work to do, but we’re happy to say that we’ve now re-established our presence out here after four months and we’re happy to invite visitors out here,” Weir said. “We wanted to make sure that we were here to give people the right information, provide the services we normally provide and make sure that everyone has a good and enjoyable visit.”
Weir noted that there are slight changes to the park — some caused by the storm and others as a result of repairs — however, he assured that the park’s cave infrastructure and mangrove systems remain largely intact.
As for Lucayan National Park’s breathtaking Gold Rock Beach, Weir said the beach’s shoreline was altered in the storm but added that this should not dissuade visitors from coming to enjoy this piece of paradise as it retains a timeless beauty. In fact, Weir said recent visitors to Gold Rock have described it as the most beautiful beach they have ever seen.
“Based on the comments we are receiving, people are enjoying themselves and they’re commenting about how beautiful the area is,” Weir said. “We want people to know that when they come, they can still enjoy Lucayan National Park. Visitors can tour the caves, Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave. They can come and access the beach at low tide to enjoy a wide area of sand. Timing is still important. Even before the storm, visitors would time their visit to Gold Rock at low tide, so we’d encourage them to still do that.”
Over the next few weeks, BNT will continue its assessments and restoration work on the park, particularly repairing the boardwalk to provide visitors with an additional route to the beach. The organisation has also reconnected with tour providers to resume their visits to the park.
Steven Johnson, BMOTA general manager for Grand Bahama, said the reopening of Lucayan National Park is exciting news for the island. Noting that the park draws an average of 30,000 visitors annually, Johnson commended BNT for moving quickly and creatively to overcome the challenges so tourists could return to enjoying the natural beauty of Grand Bahama’s top park.
“Reopening this park is such an important aspect for Grand Bahama,” Johnson said. “This is home to the welcome mat for Grand Bahama. A lot of the ads you see and shots you see in brochures are from Gold Rock Beach. So, it’s very important that we can get this out to the global community that we’re officially open for business.”
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation