Washington-Slagbaai National Park Celebrates 50th Anniversary

An impression of the official celebration at WSNP’s entrance. Photo: ABC Online Media

Kralendijk – On Thursday, May 9, the 50th anniversary of the Washington Slagbaai National Park was celebrated. A wreath was laid in the park at the grave of found ‘Boy’ Herrera.

Herrera, who owned the area until 1969, was afraid that after his death Washington would fall prey to property developers. He made a deal with the government of Bonaire that it became a National Park: National Park Washington. In 1979 Slagbaai was added to the National Park and the whole Washington became Slagbaai National Park.

The historic day was festively commemorated at the park’s entrance. Here people looked back at 50 years of nature conservation, memories were retrieved, stories told and the rangers were put in the limelight. George ‘Kultura’, who has been working in the park every day for 38 years, received a memento of this special day.

STINAPA-director Arjen de Wolff also looked towards the future. “The coming 20 to 30 years will be criticized for the future of Bonaire. If the mangrove area is not well protected, the diversity under water will decrease drastically” said De Wolff. According to de Wolff, reforestation of the island was also an important area of attention.

Island Governor Edison Rijna also pointed out to those present that we live from nature: “Nos ta biba di Naturalesa”, as the slogan goes in Papiamento.

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