Group Welcomes National Park Designation

December 19, 2017

Campaign group Take Back Our Park has praised Government for designating Southlands as a national park, and is asking ‘what happens next?’

The House of Assembly passed legislation earlier this month formally designating the land on South Shore as a protected area. The decision was ratified in the Senate.

A spokesperson for TBOP said: “It has been a very long saga that has seen many unfulfilled promises, but credit where credit is due, and this Government has taken up the mantle and made sure the area is now protected as a national park.

“That is something TBOP and a lot of other people and organisations have been wanting to see for some time and we are delighted that this designation has finally been made.”

Slideshow showing a look at the Southlands property a couple of years ago:


The 37-acre Southlands estate was earmarked for a hotel but after a series of protests against the plan, the area was formally obtained by Government in 2012 as part of a land swap deal – with the developers getting 80 acres at Morgan’s Point.

“Since then there have been many commitments in various Throne Speeches about making Southlands a national park, but nothing ever happened. As a result, it has fallen into terrible disrepair. Lovely lawns are now covered with weeds and trees, buildings have rotted and the estate, as a whole, has been woefully neglected,” added the TBOP spokesperson.

“The restoration of the landscape and buildings is going to take a tremendous amount of work, and so we have to ask the question: what next? Are there now plans to restore the estate? Will we see some innovative ideas for its use? Would Government be prepared to let the buildings, for instance, for a peppercorn rent if an entrepreneur came up with a workable plan?

“Southlands could be a tremendous asset for Bermuda for locals as well as tourists. At the moment, instead of being a national resource, it has been allowed to become a national disgrace which is a tragedy.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. alistair says:

    This group poses a good question – I would love to see Government put out some RFPs on this.

  2. Community First says:

    Government could lease it to BEST as a thank you for saving it and support them to use Southlands an an ECO-Park, ECO-Farm, ECO-Research and other ECO-Friendly activities to benefit all of Bermuda.

  3. Johnny Appleseed says:

    I would like to know where Gov is going to find the money to do this when Parks can’t even get the job done now

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    So much has been left to neglect over the years. Admiralty House was once a beautiful place perfect to be rented out for events such as weddings. We got the base lands with so many assets which were left to fall into disrepair. There used to be a huge water catch at the annex. Another water catch at Kindley. Both probably beyond restoration now.

    Hate to see what Southlands looks like now after all these years of neglect. Are the buildings worth restoration?

    As much as Bermudians like to camp on Cup Match part of Southlands could make for a wonderful campground modelled after US State Parks or Canadian Provincial Parks. With our climate camping can be done year round.

    A typical US State Park has designated campsites for up to 8 people, each having water at or nearby the site, each having power, a tent pad, a fire ring & a picnic table. Typical US prices for basic sites such as this go for $20 to $30 per night with a 2 week maximum stay to prevent squatters. Usually there is a camp host living onsite making sure that rules are followed. Camp hosts rotate either by month or sometimes seasonally. The campground usually has a central bathroom with showers that is maintained by the camp host. Campgrounds also often have group camping areas for partys larger than the 8 person individual sites.

    At the moment nobody has camping trailers in Bermuda but that is not to say that the avid camper should not be permitted to have what is known as a popup trailer suitable to be towed by our little cars.

    Just a little outside the box thinking for a use of Southlands & a means of a little revenue stream to help maintain it.

    • Yesitsme says:

      UBP’s fault

    • PBanks says:

      Been nearly ten years since I last saw the buildings, they were still in a decent enough shape to be used for various functions if they got some patch-ups, paint and a little restoration in spots. Hopefully they are still of use.

      But that’s an interesting out-of-box idea suggested, regarding campsites. Feasible? Not sure how much available acreage there is.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        As one who has spent literally hundreds of nights in US campgrounds both state parks & commercial campgrounds this is something that has been of interest for some time.

        Keep it simple to begin with. Ten or so campsites might be enough. Start with only a few maintained porta potties. See how it goes. If demand is there, & it is not abused, enhance the facilities & charge accordingly.

        I always marvel at how US state & federal campgrounds are kept. Always absolutely pristine. No trash. No cigarette butts tossed on the ground. There are rules & they are enforced. Quiet hours are just that. Get one warning then you get thrown out. No refunds.

  5. wahoo juice says:

    It will be a monumental jod just killing the indian laurels.