Gra Gra Lagoon National Park is located near the coast
just below the town of Dangriga, the capital of the Stann
Creek District (figure 1). The park was established in 2002
and covers approximately 1,197 acres (485 ha). The very
shallow brackish lagoon of 300 acres (120 ha) 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 (southern) shore. The mangrove grades into
swamp forest and lowland forest on the inland (northern)
side. There are patches of tall herbaceous swamp behind
the beach-crest close and entering the park boundary and
large areas of freshwater reed swamps within the forested
Gra Lagoon was established as National Park under the National
Parks System Act, 1981. The classification “National
Park” indicates that the area is declared for the
protection and preservation of natural and scenic values
of national significance and for the benefit and enjoyment
of the general public. As such Gra Gra Lagoon National Park
conforms with IUCN Category ii.
Based on the National Park Systems Act, allowed activities
in a national Park include; research, education and tourism.
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.
Friends of Gra Gra has been active since the late 1990s.
It was established as a membership organization with the
objectives of conserving and managing local natural resources,
preserving the biodiversity of Gra Gra and its environment,
and involvement in environmental action in general. The
declaration of Gra Gra lagoon as a national park was a key
aim, successfully achieved largely due to Friends of Gra
Friends of Gra Gra are hoping to increase the economic
value of the lagoon by developing tourism activities.
of the activities organized include guides canoe tours.
All tours need to be arranged in advance. Contact Friends
of Gra Gra by email
or phone (501) 502-0043 or 600-6222.
The dominant flora of the Gra Gra Lagoon National Park
is mangrove consisting of all three species:
• Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
• Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
• White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)
These species apart from their dominance represent the principal
conservation feature of the park. A very dominant associate
of the mangrove is the white flowering
• mangrove vine; Rhabdadenia biflora.
It is important to note that Mangrove as an ecosystem was
identified as a conservation target within the National
Protected Areas Policy and Systems Plan analysis.
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