The Royal Palm Reserve is open daily from 9am-6pm
Foreigners: US $15.00 for Adults and US $7.00 for Children.
Locals: JA $300.00 for Adults and JA $150.00 for Children
NEPT’s objectives for the Royal Palm Reserve are as follows:
1. To protect and conserve the Negril Great Morass and its wetland flora and fauna, particularly the endemic Morass (Swamp) Royal Palm.
2. To raise the level of awareness, knowledge and understanding about the Negril Great Morass (and other wetland ecosystems) though an Interpretive Programme
3. To provide opportunities to citizens of neighbouring communities, particularly Sheffield, for income generation through direct employment, concessions, training and the facilitation of sustainable livelihood projects in the community.
4. To increase scientific knowledge of the Negril Great Morass and related ecosystems in order to guide planning and management of the Negril Environmental Protection Area through the establishment of a Research Centre at the Reserve and the promotion of research at the Reserve.
5. To increase the financial independence and self-sustainability of NEPT and the Royal Palm Reserve by promoting the Reserve as an income-generating eco-tourism attraction.
The Royal Palm Reserve was conceived as a part of the overall proposal for mining of peat in the Negril Great Morass during the mid-1980’s. At that time it was recognized that the stand of Morass Royal Palms (Roystonea princeps) at the south-western corner of the Morass was a remnant of a once much larger wetland forest that had been extensively logged and cut down in previous years. The Morass Royal Palm is endemic to Jamaica – its distribution is restricted to the Negril Morass and other wetlands in western Jamaica. Because of the very restricted distribution of the palm in global terms, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) decided to establish the Royal Palm Reserve so as to protect the Morass Royal Palm in Negril. PCJ therefore designed and constructed an access road from Sheffield, a board-walk through the wetland forest, a lake and buildings around it – restaurant, museum and administrative office, in addition to a Reception Centre on the bank of the South Negril River. Construction was completed in 1989, however the facility has never been formally opened or used since then, due to a change in mandate of the PCJ. This eventually led PCJ to offer the property for lease in 1994, at which time, a newly formed NEPT tendered a bid. The bid was unsuccessful and the lease was given to a private sector company which gave up the lease after about two years of unsuccessful management. Over the years, NEPT continued to indicate its interest in managing the Reserve and finally obtained the lease starting on January 1, 2001.