Preserving The Rich Gra Gra Lagoon National Park
Gra Gra Lagoon National Park is located near the coast just below the seaside town of Dangriga, the capital of the Stann Creek District. In Belize, national parks are areas designed for the protection and preservation of natural and aesthetic features of national significance for the people. Therefore, these are areas of recreation and tourism, as well as environmental protection. They're administered by the Forest Department and managed through partnership agreements with community-based non-governmental organizations.
Gra Gra Lagoon National Park Covers 1,200 Hectares
The park was established back in 2002 and covers almost 1,200 hectares. The very shallow brackish lagoon of 300 meters is the centerpiece of the park but the protected area also includes the greater part of the surrounding mangrove system, excepting that on the seaward shore. The mangrove grades into swamp forest and lowland forest on the inland side. These are patches of tall herbaceous swamp behind the beach-crest close and entering the park boundary and large areas of freshwater reed swamps in the forested swamplands.
Gra Gra Lagoon was established as National Park under the National Parks System Act of 1981. The classification of ‘National Park '; indicates that the area is declared for the protection and preservation of natural and scenic values of national significance for the enjoyment and advantageous asset of the general public. As such, Gra Gra National Park conforms to IUCN Category II. On the basis of the National Park Systems Act, allowed activities in the national park are research, tourism and education. As a national park, statutory responsibility for site management lies with the Forest Department. Day-to-day administration has, however, been devolved through a formal co-management agreement to Friends of Gra Gra, a local community group.