Mountain Pine Ridge National Park Adventure Tours

Mountain Pine Ridge National Park is a nature reserve in the Cayo District of southern central Belize. It was established in 1944 to protect and manage the native pine forest. Its boundaries are poorly defined, but it is estimated to cover an area of 106,352.5 acres (430 km²), although much of the reserve has been leased. Little is known of the early history of the area. The Maya had a city at Caracol on the borders of the modern reserve as early as 1200 BC, and Mayan artifacts discoverd in Barton Creek Cave suggest that it was used as a ritual site. There is no mention of Mountain Pine Ridge in Hummell’s 1921 report of forests of Belize, but it is believed he may have been the first forester to visit the area in 1897. To control increasing forestry activity in the area, a region of 1,504,000 acres was designated as forest reserve in October 1944, but despite fire control measures being established in 1945, much of the forest was destroyed by a fire in 1949. Few trees in the existing forest date to before this period. The reserve was reclassified in 1952 as a production forest and the 1950s saw the provision of roads and a landing strip. In 1959, the area of the reserve was reduced, losing some land to the neighbouring Sibun Forest Reserve. Hunting was banned in the reserve in 1978 in recognition of the nature conservation role that could be played by the reserve.

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