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Protected Areas

Abaco has 12 protected areas, including national parks and marine reserves, that are part of The Bahamas' protected area system. Managerial oversight is provided by The Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, and The Bahamas Forestry Unit.

Some of the protected areas are highlighted below. More information can also be obtained from The Bahamas National Trust.

Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park

Established: 1972          Size: 2,100 Acres

Located 8 miles north of Cherokee Sound, Great Abaco, this 2,100 acre land and sea area is a sister park to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. It contains beautiful undersea caves, extensive coral reefs and abounds with terrestrial plant and animal life.

Black Sound Cay Nat'l Reserve

Established: 1988          Size: 2 Acres

This small park is located in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay. Just a short bike or golf cart ride outside of New Plymouth will take you to this cay which is made up of coppice and mangrove habitat. This cay is an ideal home for local waterfowl and provides shelter to migratory birds that winter in Abaco.

Tilloo Cay Reserve

Established: 1990          Size: 11 Acres

Located in the middle of Tilloo Cay, this land was donated by private citizens to protect important sea bird nesting habitat. The reserve also includes a large section of native coastal vegetation which supports other birds and native wildlife.

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Abaco National Park

Established: 1994          Size: 20, 500 Acres

Established due to community support during a RARE Pride Campaign, the Abaco National Park comprises 20,500 Acres in Southern Abaco. Included in this area is 5,000 acres of pine forest, the major nesting habitat of the Abaco Parrot. Thanks to management actions from within the park, Abaco Parrot populations are recovering!

Walker's Cay National Park

Established: 2002         Size: 3,840 Acres


Accessible to cruisers in North Abaco, or by flying into Grand Cay, this national park was established to protect the barrier reef system off of Walker’s Cay. Fortunately still inhabited by many marine predators, this reef is an ideal spot for diving.

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Fowl Cays National Park

Established: 2009          Size: 1,920 Acres

Conveniently reached from most central Abaco Cays and settlements, the park has steadily become attractive to scuba divers and is an extremely popular area for local boating and snorkeling. The reefs and three 25′ to 40′ dive spots in untouched water are renowned.

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East Abaco Creeks Nat'l Park

Established: 2015

This park encompasses Snake Cay Creek, The Bight of Old Robinson, and Cherokee Sound. Designed to preserve valuable coastal habitats to support our fisheries and environmental health in general. Fishing (as regulated by current laws) is allowed in these areas. A plan to guide future management of the park is yet to be created, however the community will be involved in the process.

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South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area

Established: 2015

This park protects a network of underground caves and blue holes and the pine forest and coppice habitats growing around them. The area was also designated as the Blue hole Conservation Forest and became part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, an effort to preserve forest resources across the British Commonwealth.

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Cross Harbour and The Marls Protected Areas

Established: 2015

These two separate parks are united by their function – to protect critical habitats for bonefish. The Marls are shallow mangrove wetlands and flats located on the western side of Great Abaco, while Cross Harbour is located in south west Abaco. Tagged bonefish have been recorded traveling from feeding grounds in The Marls to spawning grounds in Cross Harbour and back again. These two areas also benefit numerous other marine species, as well as birds, and mangrove ecosystems, and are vital to Bahamian fishing industries (including catch and release).

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