This past year has been as much a challenge to the world as it has been to FCD. However; I am happy to say that through perseverance and determination FCD has managed to maintain its presence in the Chiquibul and Vaca regions, and effectively kept the border incursions to a minimum. Rogue loggers, xateros, illegal gold panners and cattle ranchers from Guatemala extending into Belizean territory, have for the most part been kept at bay.
Having said that we still have a number of issues to confront. Operations at the various Conservation posts along the border require significant sacrifices by FCD Rangers who patrol these areas. Road access is non-existent for the most part, so Rangers walk and carry their rations and equipment for more than a day oftentimes in order to reach their respective outposts. It is tough as well as dangerous, and unless one has done this oneself it is hard to comprehend.
The construction of the new and wonderful highway from Georgeville to Blancaneaux Line has allowed an influx of both local and foreign visitors to the area. Anyone who has ever had to travel this road on any regular basis in the past, sings praises and feel relief when it comes to driving down to town or for that matter going in the other direction to Caracol and the Mountain Pine Ridge. These new roads increase access, traffic and visitation to the area, most of which is positive. However, there needs to be proper management guidelines as well as enforcement to prevent damage such as forest fires, illegal logging, litter and even damage to the watershed.
We are very grateful to the Government for their endorsement of FCD’s mandate to include surveillance and monitoring of the Bald Hills in the Mountain Pine Ridge which border onto the Chiquibul Forest. With these added responsibilities comes the need for further funding to support the effective management of these areas. With the pandemic it has been challenging to raise funds and continues to be so.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the individuals, corporate sponsors and government agencies who have continued to support FCD through these difficult times We also thank the members for the trust, support and the confidence given to FCD that enables the organization to perform the various duties of management and conservation of the vital resources, located in the Western Maya Mountains. We are always looking for other partners to get involved in the protection of these valuable resources so please don’t hesitate to contact us. There are innumerable ways in which you can be of help. Last but not least I would like to recognize the amazing commitment of all the FCD staff who often times work under very difficult conditions but shine in their belief and dedication to the cause of protection of our natural resources. Mick Fleming President FCD Board of Directors
FCD Board of Directors