Hill Bank – Description
Hill Bank Field Station, established in 1995 is one of two field stations located on the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA). But the history of this site goes way back to when the Hill Bank area was inhabited by the ancient Maya. Along the length of the New River Lagoon you will find evidence of Mayan habitation in the form of house mounds, and just 12 miles away we find the second largest Mayan Monument in Belize, Lamanai.
The Hill Bank site itself is a former logging camp. Established as far back as the 1700s by British buccaneers and African slaves, the camp continued to act as a centre for Mahogany harvesting for over 300 years. Trees were pulled from the forest to the lagoon, initially by oxen, later by train where they were off loaded, chained together and floated downstream to Belize City for processing. In the 1950s it is estimated that approximately 400 men, women and children lived at Hill Bank. From about 400 trees per year in the early days, the logging company BEC was extracting over 7000 trees by the early 1980s. By 1982 the mahogany supply was depleted and Hill Bank was abandoned.
Today, Hill Bank is a working conservation field station, committed to managing the conservation of Belize’s natural heritage. With a workforce of up to 30, Hill Bank is home to a diverse crew of rangers, forestry personnel and a host of others committed to rainforest protection, research and development. During your stay at Hill Bank you will become part of our field station community where you will learn and participate directly in rainforest conservation activities. sustained, and why most of its centers eventually collapsed throughout the region.