The Importance of the BBNP
It is an important habitat for various vulnerable and threatened species, including jaguars, ocelots, pumas, tapirs, peccaries, a variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians. The BBNP also provides important environmental services to the buffering communities.
The Billy Barquedier National Park (BBNP) covers 1,639 acres of lush tropical forest in the Stann Creek District. It is a protected area of critical importance for residents of the Stann Creek Valley and the people of Belize as it is home to the Billy Barquedier Sub Watershed, which provides water to three communities. It is an important habitat for various vulnerable and threatened species, including jaguars, ocelots, pumas, tapirs, peccaries, a variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians.
The BBNP also provides important environmental services to the buffering communities. Some of these services include the provision of clean water, clean air and protection against floods and erosion. The park also holds a lot of aesthetic value that is appreciated by both Belizeans and tourists. It is home to a spectacular waterfall with a natural swimming pool and many beautiful scenes around every corner!
The BBNP is surrounded by three main communities, Steadfast, Alta Vista and the Valley Community. Each community is unique and is home to a diverse population. They each hold a population of nearly 1000 people, a figure that is continuously increasing. The history of these communities are quite similar with their strong background with European colonization, logging and agriculture. The North Stann Creek Valley is approximately a 20 mile strip along the Hummingbird Highway. It is also referred to as the citrus belt of Belize because it is the birthplace and headquarters of the citrus industry. The communities along the Stann Creek Valley are well known for their subsistence farming. They plant and grow their own crops mainly for their personal use. As stakeholders, the actions of the communities have an impact on the park, whether positive or negative. Therefore, STACA often works together with its buffering communities to educate and involve them in the management of the BBNP.