|Ben's Cave, Lucayan National Park, Freeport.|
Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound received more than $23,000 in structural upgrades as a result of donations to the Bahamas National Trust.
BNT branch chairman Lloyd Cheong said: “The Burial Mound platform and walkway have been completely renovated. We have also added much needed support to the Ben’s Cave viewing platform allowing us to open tours of these caves to visitors again.”
Ben’s Cave is named after legendary local diver Ben Rose, who co-discovered a new species there in 1982. The centipede-like organism was found swimming in the underwater cavern systems and was officially called Remipedia (meaning: “oar foot”).
The Burial Mound cave was named because of the skeletal remains of indigenous Lucayans found on the floor in a second chamber of this cave and has been featured in National Geographic magazines and television documentaries.
These local historical caverns are part of one of the longest known underwater cave systems in the world. With over six miles of caves and tunnels, they can take courageous divers back under the island to resurface on the south shore, known as Gold Rock Beach.
The Bahamas National Trust closed the Lucayan Bridge in 2008 due to age and damage by hurricanes, then Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave in September 2011. Freeport Construction (FRECON) completed the repairs to the boardwalks and installation of a new spiral staircase at these sites.
The steps and landing inside Burial Mound cave were replaced with pressure treated wood; however, some of the repairs were made with recycled plastic wood as the dampness from the caves was causing the wood structures to weaken quickly. The changes will extend the steps longevity and inflict less damage to the natural habitat.
Tour operator Hadley Forbes, of Forbes Travel, said: “We’ve had a few complaints about the caves being closed and the state of the walkways and platforms.
|Burial Mound, Lucayan National Park, Freeport|
“We take a majority of our tourists to the beach but there are those who want to learn more about our island and it’s great when we can show them some historical facts and our unique cave system.
“I hope that the BNT will look to have a museum at the park and maybe tour guides for these areas too.”
The BNT is working diligently in Grand Bahama to fulfil the 5-year goal to develop an integrated National Park and Protected Area System.
The Grand Bahama branch operates out of the Rand Nature Centre off Settler’s Way, where they are working on a watchable wildlife pond and Arboretum to enhance the park’s facilities and touristic charm.