is that what you mentioned as the reason for not reviewing the Blue and John Crow mountains?
Is this "aimed" at me Zoe?? Based on earlier posts under this topic which we exchanged (above) from 10 May 2018 ("I think it would still make a good review, especially the part about the buffer zones. You don't have to cover a place 100% to have an experience there
No - not climbing to the top of "Blue Mountain Peak" (official title "Middle Peak") isn't the reason for not reviewing the WHS. In fact it isn't even clear from the rather poor maps provided in the Nomination file if that peak is actually included in the inscribed area - if it is, it is probably only the Peak's northern "side". The Google map actually shows it to be just outside the boundary of the NP as coloured "green" by Google - but of course Google isn't 100% accurate! See this
. If you zoom in you will see that the peak is slightly to the south of the coloured boundary!! This is confirmed on Satellite view.
IMO the site was badly compromised by the boundary changes which Jamaica had to make in order to bring IUCN on board after its original deferral. I don't criticize Jamaica - it would justifiably have done anything to get an inscription. As far as most people who visit the island is concerned, the whole of the "Blue Mountain" Area is a "WHS" and they do not interest themselves in esoteric "boundary" matters!!!
The initial problem was created by the decision to try to inscribe it as a "Mixed site". On the one side there was IUCN wanting a pristine forested area with as little human habitation as possible and limited secondary growth forest, agricultural areas etc. On the other hand we had ICOMOS which was wanting to see some tangible evidence of the "History" for which the area was being nominated. As "piggy in the middle" we had the Jamaican government wanting to get some national pride from an inscription and to create additional reason for people to visit the towns and villages of the Blue Mountain area.
Even the original nomination faced problems trying to reconcile the irreconcilable, but eventually IUCN won even more reductions from areas of the NP which contained both Natural and Cultural aspects.
I quote from the revised nomination file -
"There are no historical sites listed by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) within the Park's boundaries except for Nanny Town, which is now essentially an archaeological site. Within the Buffer Zone however, there are numerous sites and areas of heritage significance, particularly with respect to both Maroon and traditional African Jamaican village culture. Examples are Moore Town (New Nanny Town), Nanny Falls and the Cunha Cunha Pass Trail. A small section of the latter actually passes through the BJCMNP and there are a number of springs and resting spots that were used by the ancestors of local communities making their journeys to and from market
So - much of what is "Maroon Heritage" is actually in the buffer area or even beyond. And a large chunk of the buffer zone isn't even "buffer" but is situated to the west of the main N/S highway - well away from the inscribed areas! It has simply been extracted from the NP. There is also an interesting comment in the ICOMOS evaluation about "Satellite Sites" - "However, the most important among these places, namely Charles Town, Scots Hall, and Bayfield, have all been declared protected national heritage and will be treated as 'satellite sites' related to the nominated property"
. Followed by this recommendation "Additionally, ICOMOS recommends that 'satellite sites' located outside the nominated property and the buffer zone be included in the narrative to present the values of the nominated property. ICOMOS also considers it desirable that the Leeward Maroon experience is also reflected in the overall presentation/interpretation strategy for the nominated property and for Jamaican Maroonage"
What a mess!! Either the satellite sites contribute to the "Values" of the nominated property (in which case they should have been included) or they are not - in which case there is no need to refer to them. In reality they sit uncomfortably somewhere in between. The WHS as inscribed is really just a "place marker" for Jamaican Maroonage
- but at least it thereby gained recognition. There is a lot more to see and discover about the subject beyond the park and to the West in Cockpit Country
(we had a 4 x 4 to do so and did in fact also drive up the southern side of the Blue Mountains to the wonderfully quirky Whitfield Hall
and walked to the ridge)
The "mixed" aspect of this WHS reminds me somewhat of the Ohrid WHS - of which I have also been critical (see my review of Prespes
). There the opposite happened - a large area of both natural and built up/cultural land was forced upon IUCN in the early days of the scheme and was then given additional "Cultural OUV" a year later . Really the 2 subjects -
a. The Cultural values of some religious buildings around Lake Ohrid
b. The natural values of the Lake and its unspoilt hinterland
SHOULD have been separate nominations - just as the tangible remains of Maroonage and the natural values of the Blue/Jim Crow mountains should have been separate, albeit overlapping, sites.