Forest Trek is held annually in March in observance of International Day of Forests.
The main aim of the hike is to increase public awareness and to encourage a greater appreciation for forests in Jamaica.
The Trek takes participants on a guided tour through the forest to see and experience its environment firsthand and to contribute to its resources by participating in a small tree planting exercise.
Each year participants get to visit a different forest estate. Some of the forest estates visited to date are the Gourie Forest Management Area in Manchester; Cambridge Backlands Forest Reserve (FR) in Portland; Bogue 2 Forest Reserve in St. Ann; Cockpit Country Forest Reserve in Trelawny; and various sections of the Blue Mountain Forest Reserve in St. Andrew.
Persons may participate in Forest Trek as an individual or as part of a group of ten or more persons. The rates for each category varies and is determined each year based on the location that the event will be held. Registration and prices for participation in Forest Trek are usually posted on our website in February annually.
Location: Orchard Forest Reserve
Mavis Bank Coffee Factory to Guava Ridge Basic School
Level of Difficulty (on a scale of 1-10): 7-Participants must be fit
The 12th staging of Forest Trek scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020, is a 12 KM hike through sections of the Orchard Forest Reserve, staring at Mavis Bank Coffee Factory and around to Guava Ridge where it ends.
This year, transportation will be provided by the Forestry Department from the meeting point in Papine to the start line in Mavis Bank, St. Andrew.
Participants will meet the buses at the designated location 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 Mavis Bank Coffee Factory for the start of the hike.
On the walk through the forest, hikers will enjoy picturesque views of the natural forest, and plantations of Pinus caribaea (Pine), Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) and Hibiscus elatus (Blue Mahoe). At Governor's Bench and Mount Rosanna, located at an altitude of 4000 ft, Trekkers will have panoramic views of Kingston and Port Royal.
After the 12 KM walk through the Forest, Trekkers will enjoy lunch and then board buses for the return journey.
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.
Orchard Forest Reserve is located in north-eastern St. Andrew. This area is defined by a mixture of forest types including patches of natural forest and plantations of Pinus caribaea (Pine), Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) and Hibiscus elatus (Blue Mahoe).
These plantation stands were established by the Forest Industries Development Company Ltd. (FIDCO) which was a state-owned company established for the purpose of producing forest products from these plantation-grown trees. Some 148.2 hectares of land, which is now known as the Orchard Forest Reserve were passed on from FIDCO to the Forestry Department in the late 1980s for management.
At the time of handing over, the landscape of these areas would have been dominated by established plantations of Pinus caribaea and Eucalyptus globulus. Since the inheritance of these lands, little change in diversity had been observed over the years mainly due to this and the land being utilized for coffee production and other cash crops.
Data from a bio-physical inventory conducted in 2015 by the Forestry Department, indicated the presence of at least eighty-three species of plants in the area. Unfortunately, the forest reserve is frequently affected by fires and is still recovering from a fire which occurred in 2015 and affected 95% of the forest reserve.
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 all sections of the Individual Registration Form as well as sign the 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.
Each participant must complete all sections of the Individual Registration Form as well as sign the Participant Waiver Form.
The deadline for the submission of the forms and the payment of registration fees for all participants is Friday, March 6. Payments may be made Mondays to Thursdays, 9 am- 4 pm and on Fridays between 9 am and 3 pm.
N.B. All Registration Fees are Non-Refundable.
Registration for Forest Trek 2020 runs from Monday, February 17 to Friday, March 6, 2020 or as soon as the quota of 500 hikers is reached.
Registration fee for groups of 10 or more persons is $5,500 per person and for individuals $5,800.
The registration fee covers the following:
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.