Commemorative Hike to Blue and John Crow Mountains

Story Highlights

  • Thirty persons will participate in a commemorative hike to the Blue and John Crow Mountains, Jamaica’s first World Heritage Site, on Sunday, December 20, to unveil a plaque.
  • Participants will meet at Forres Park, Mavis Bank, rural St. Andrew, at 6:00 a.m. From there, the group along with Jamaica Conservation Development Trust (JCDT) tour guides will begin the challenging 11-mile hike, which is expected to take about eight to nine hours.
  • Principal Director of Culture and Creative Industries, Policy Division, in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr Janice Lindsay, stressed the symbolic nature of the hike.

Thirty persons will participate in a commemorative hike to the Blue and John Crow Mountains, Jamaica’s first World Heritage Site, on Sunday, December 20, to unveil a plaque.

            Participants will meet at Forres Park, Mavis Bank, rural St. Andrew, at 6:00 a.m. From there, the group along with Jamaica Conservation Development Trust (JCDT) tour guides will begin the challenging 11-mile hike, which is expected to take about eight to nine hours.

            The plaque will be installed at the top of the Blue Mountain Peak, located within the world heritage site, as a symbolic move to commemorate the inscribed property. During a brief ceremony at the top of the mountains, invited guests as well as representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),  will make brief remarks.

            The event is being organized by the Ministry of Youth and Culture in collaboration with the JCDT. Funding is being provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

              Representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, UNESCO, Embassy of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency, JCDT, National Environment and Planning Agency, Forestry Department of Jamaica, Jamaica National Heritage Trust as well as community members of the Blue and John Crow Mountain communities will be in attendance.

            Principal Director of Culture and Creative Industries, Policy Division, in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr Janice Lindsay, stressed the symbolic nature of the hike.

            “It is going to be an experience where you’re making the trip, you’re making the hike, but you’re learning as you’re going along. It is really about reflecting on what is the significance of the natural and cultural values of the Blue and John Crow Mountains,” she said, adding that during the hike, participants will pass by sites associated with Maroon heritage.

            Dr. Lindsay said the plaque has been inscribed with the logo of UNESCO and the Coat of Arms of Jamaica.

The wording on the plaque reads as follows:

‘Through the collective recognition of the Community of Nations, expressed within the principles of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Blue and John Crow Mountains have been designated a World Heritage Site, thereby confirming the outstanding universal value of the cultural or natural property which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity.’

            Dr. Lindsay said the Blue and John Crow Mountains have not only a local, but also a global importance.

            “For us in Jamaica, we understand and appreciate the values, but the thinking is that these natural and cultural values should be shared by the world and therefore the Blue and John Crow Mountains in effect now belong not only to Jamaica but to humanity,” she explained.

            Dr. Lindsay said that the JCDT has played an integral part in organising the event. Apart from coordinating the logistics, the organization has also mobilised community members, who built the base for the plaque. “Their efforts contributed tremendously to the preparation of the commemorative hike,” she added.

            Additionally, she said the Ministry received support from the international community, particularly the Government of Japan and their representatives in Jamaica who have shared their expertise and experiences with World Heritage Sites.

        Dr. Lindsay pointed out that another strong supporter of the project has been UNESCO.

“They have consistently assisted Jamaica during the process of inscription. Moreover, UNESCO funds the World Heritage Public Education Programme by providing US$20,000. Apart from the heritage hike, the programme includes a media campaign, community and school activities, the publication of posters and brochures, as well as the launch of the World Heritage Site,” she said.

            The Blue and John Crow Mountains were inscribed a World Heritage Site on July 3, 2015. The launch of the site took place in Moore Town, Portland, on October 30. During the celebration, a first plaque indicating the World Heritage Site was unveiled.

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