The island of Providenciales has eight protected areas: three national parks, three nature reserves, and two protected historical sites.
About half of the coast of Providenciales is under the protection of either a national park or a nature reserve.
National Parks, Nature Reserves and Historical Sites do have varying degrees and types of protections, but taking or harming any animal, plant, historical item, or natural feature is generally prohibited from all protected areas. This would include fishing and shell collecting.
Although not protected in any way under the law, several other sites on Providenciales deserve either National Park or Nature Reserve status. Examples are The Hole and surrounding limestone formations in Long Bay, the many sinkholes and small caves near Cooper Jack Bay Beach (probably the best location on the island for showing off features of the Karst process of dissolution), and the partially collapsed giant sinkhole and cave near the airport (home to the majority of the island’s bats).
Unfortunately, much of the protected areas on Providenciales rarely experience visit from locals, let alone tourists. The primary reason for this is lack of access, however limited knowledge and crime concerns also play a part.
When many of the protected areas in the Turks and Caicos were designated in the early 1990s, an excellent job was done on Providenciales identifying and selecting the varied and unique eco-systems and terrains to preserve. Areas such as the Frenchman’s Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve reflect this fact, where an impressive diversity of landscapes can be seen.
Largely because the world-famous Grace Bay Beach is included in the region, Princess Alexandra National Park and the smaller nature reserve within it sees by far the most usage and appreciation of any protected area in the Turks and Caicos.
Strict regulations apply in all of the protected areas on Providenciales. Here are the most important regulations that are applicable in all protected areas.
For information on obtaining camping or fishing licences, contact the National Environmental Centre (Providenciales).