Forest Trek 2018 Overview

General Information about Forest Trek 2018

Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve

 

Level of Difficulty:

6- Must be reasonably fit, participants must be able bodied and cannot have physical disabilities

 

Overview

This year, the Forestry Department celebrates 80 years of service to the island of Jamaica. As part of this commemoration, the Agency will be staging two forest treks in 2018. The ninth staging of Forest Trek on Saturday, March 17, 2018, will be a 14 KM hike through the Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve in Portland.

This year the Forestry Department offers two transportation options for participants who sign up for the individual packages.

1.    Transportation included (Buses depart from meeting point in Kingston)

2.    Transportation excluded (Meet at Designated point in Portland)

Persons who choose the transportation included option will be transported from the meeting point in Kingston to Portland and back to meeting point on the day. Participants will meet the buses at the Immaculate Conception High School, 152c Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew , where parking is provided free of charge. All hikers must gather at the Check Point located in the Parking Area at 6:00 a.m. At the Check Point, participants will be boarded on buses and dispatched to Windsor Forest, Portland to start the hike.

Those who select the transportation excluded option will meet us at the Sherwood Forest Community Centre, Portland where parking will be provided and hikers shuttled to the start line at Windsor Forest which is approximately 20 minutes away. Hikers are invited to meet us at Sherwood Forest at 8:00 a.m. for the start of the hike.

More details regarding this, as well as a map to the meeting point, will be provided to individuals who choose this option.

Purpose of the Hike

The main aim of the hike is to increase public awareness and encourage a greater appreciation for forests in Jamaica. The Trek will take participants into the forest to see and experience its environment first hand and also to contribute to its resources by participating in a small tree planting exercise. 

About the Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve

The Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve was gazetted on March 26, 1959. It is comprised of 430.2 hectares of disturbed broadleaf forest. Disturbed broadleaf forest is a classification used to refer to areas of forest with broadleaf trees at least 5 metres tall with human disturbance such as cutting of trees, farming, animal grazing.

The Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve adjoins the Blue Mountain Forest Reserve and is rich in biodiversity.

Some of the flora and fauna that are found in the area include various species of birds and frogs and the area is also known for its wild hogs, which are usually hunted as food. Other fauna and flora are:

Water Mahoe (Hernandia catalpifolia)-it is endemic to Jamaica and is the plant around which the entire lifespan of the Jamaican Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Pterourus homerus), the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere, revolves.

Philodendrons- The philodendron genus contains some of the most beautiful foliage plants in the plant kingdom. Native to the tropical Americas, there are several hundred species of philodendrons. There are two basic types of philodendrons: the climbing varieties and the self-heading (non-climbing) types. In the wild, some of these plants can grow into massive, tree-swallowing specimens, but indoors they aren't nearly so vigorous. The roots of Philodendron plants are used to make wicker.

The Jamaican Coney (Geocapromys brownii), also known as the Jamaican hutia, is endemic to Jamaica and restricted to the remote mountain regions of Jamaica, in the Blue and John Crow Mountains (Portland and St. Thomas) and the Hellshire Hills (St. Catherine). It is classified as endangered species and is protected by law in Jamaica.

Registration

Registration for Forest Trek 2018 will open on Monday, February 5, 2018 and close on Wednesday, February 28 or as soon as the quota of 500 hikers is reached.

The Registration fees to participate in the hike are as follows:

Individuals (Transportation included) - $4,800

Individuals (Transportation excluded) - $4,200

Group rate is $4,500 per person with or without transport.

Methods of payment include company cheques, cash, debit/credit card and direct deposit. Company cheques should be made payable to the Forestry Department. Please refer to respective registration forms for more details.

For persons registering outside of the Corporate Area, you may contact the Forestry Department to find out how you can make payments without having to travel into Kingston.

Group Participation

Companies, Government Agencies, Community-Based Organizations, fitness groups, and other groups may submit a team comprising of no less than ten (10) persons. Each member of the group must complete and sign an Individual Registration Form and a Participant Waiver Form to be submitted along with the Group Registration Form.

A team captain should be named on the form, through which and to whom all information relating to the hike will be sent for dissemination to the team members.

Individual Participation

Each participant must complete and submit both the Individual Registration Form as well as the Participant Waiver Form.

The deadline for the submission of forms and the payment of registration fees for all participants is Wednesday, February 28. Payments may be made Monday to Thursday, 9 am- 4 pm and on Friday between 9 am and 3 pm. 

N.B. All Registration Fees are Non-Refundable.