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.
A group of villagers from Steadfast Village took up the challenge and organized themselves and started to advocate for the area to be protected. After seven years of lobbying with the government, the group succeeded in getting 1600 acres of land encompassing the Billy Barquedier Creek and extending from the Stann Creek Valley Road all the way over the mountains to the Mullins River, declared a national park in 2001. The area is now proudly named the Billy Barquedier National Park (BBNP). The BBNP uniquely houses two sub-watersheds, one feeding the North Stann Creek Watershed and the other feeding the Mullins River Watershed. This same group then legalized themselves by getting registered as a Non-Government Organization (NGO), in 2003. This group, the Steadfast Tourism And Conservation Association (STACA) was founded by the following totally dedicated people: Hyacinth Ysaguire, Maurice Stanley, Michael Marine, Calistro Mayen, Peter Whyte, Windell Knight, and Anthony Prior.
The group then negotiated with the Forest Department to achieve co-management status of the park in 2004. Even though the organization is registered as an NGO it is basically a Community-ased Organization(CBO). CBO’s normally function in a context of volunteerism, and this CBO is no different.
Since 2004 STACA has been supported with funding from the MAEII Foundation, PACT and the UNDP Global Environmental Fund – Small Grants Program,( GEF/SGP). Through these financial support STACA now boasts a Resource Center/Office in the village of Steadfast.
STACA is also presently implementing several programmes in collaboration with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), and the University of Belize (UB) all supported by the three buffer communities of Alta Vista, Steadfast and Valley Community.
The main concern was the protection of the Billy Barquedier sub watershed that provides potable water to the three buffering communities, namely Steadfast, Alta Vista and Valley Community. There were also ongoing threats of land clearing for farmlands. After extensive studies were done, the government at that time decided that because of its topography and soil content the area was better left intact. This urged the villagers to fight for the area to gain protective status. The Billy Barquedier National Park was officially designated in 2001.
The name “Billy Barquedier” was derived from its previous logging history. In the early 1960’s, a Barquedier was located in the area where the creek exits the park. A “Barquedier” is a place where logs are stock piled prior to being transported to the saw mill. The name “Billy” is derived from William “Bill” Newman, who owned a large portion of farmland where the national park is now located. Therefore, Billy was the one who owned the Barquedier; which made up the name “Billy Barquedier National Park”. STACA was later formalized as an organization in 2001 and was designated as the co-manager of the BBNP along with the Forest Department. Since its establishment, STACA has made various achievements towards the effective protection of the BBNP and encouraging sustainable development of the buffering communities.