– potential Region Ten tourism hotspots
By Enid Joaquin
Guyana is undeniably beautiful and Region Ten with its undulating hills and valleys, refreshing springs of crystal clear water, miniature falls, blue lakes and unique flora and fauna is unquestionably paradise right here on earth.
Residents of course, take such unadulterated beauty for granted, but to many outsiders idyllic landscapes like these, are but a dream.
But not for long, as the Department of Tourism, within the Ministry of Business, has embarked on a mission to sell Guyana as a tourist destination.
Hence, Tourism Planning workshops have been earmarked for all the Regions.
On Friday the Region Ten leg was hosted at the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) in collaboration with the Region Ten Tourism Association.
The objective of the workshops, according to Director General of Tourism Donald Sinclair, is to identify tourism hotspots, within the Regions, along with the various challenges that are stagnating the growth of this important sector and offer possible solutions.
Participants were tasked with identifying those hotspots, the challenges faced, and suggesting possible solutions.
Some of the areas touted as hotspots were Rockstone, Kwakwani River Front, Linden Blue Lakes, mined out areas, Watooka club, Toucan mall tennis court and swimming pool, the industrial museum and the famous Christianburg Water wheel.
A few of the challenges highlighted were lack of adequate infrastructure, marketing, finance, transportation and telecommunication.
Beginning today Kaieteur News will be highlighting these tourism Hotspots.
Long touted as a fisherman’s and birdwatcher’s paradise, Rockstone lies nestled amidst pristine forests along the Essequibo River.
It became an established community in 1957. Prior to that, it served as a sort of campsite for timber workers, who sailed down the Essequibo river on rafts with their cargo of lumber.
The lumber was subsequently taken to Wismar by rail, and later to Georgetown by rafts.
Rockstone is eighteen and a half miles away from Linden.
On entering the village, one is immediately transported to an unmatched serene atmosphere that residents here seem to take for granted.
On either side of the trail is the meandering Paramacushi creek, its beautiful brown waters snaking lazily along.
Only the strong willed can resist jumping in for a splash.
The drive along here is cool, serene, with green foliage forming a natural canopy overhead that keeps the hot midday sun out.
At the end of the trail is the famous Rockstone landing, which got its name from the huge rock sitting on the bank of the Essequibo River.
The nearby Gluck Island is a must see for visitors.
Overrun with giant otters, turtles, lizards and other wild life, this is the Mecca for nature lovers. Its colorful birds have earned Gluck Island the moniker, ‘bird watchers paradise.’
But it is fishing that has earned Rockstone its fame over the years.
Many a fishing enthusiast will tell you of their weekend camping trips there, where one could always count on snagging quite a few ‘big ones.’
“I remember heading up to Rockstone on some weekends with my buddy Terry Murray and spearing himara at the landing in the nights.
Sometimes we would travel up or down the river by boat during the day and catch fish using our rods. It was a lot of fun!” an old bauxite worker enthused.
“You know my grandfather once told me a story that spoke to how plentiful fish was at Rockstone in the early days. He said that one just had to hit a rock and the fish would jump out the water, and a lot of them ended up in the boat, so sometimes even if you didn’t actually throw out a line, you still had fish!’’
He added that in those days, there were four lodges at Rockstone, which were established and maintained by the bauxite company for recreational activities for its senior staff. “You only had to sign up beforehand and on the designated weekend, collect the keys to one of the lodges, and head down to Rockstone. There they had the boats and everything which were overlooked by a caretaker”.
A four-bedroom guest house was later built at Rockstone by the Region Ten Tourism Association after the first Fish Festival was launched in 2006.
The facility with all modern conveniences was a European funded project, and was built in 2007.
According to Vice President of the Region Ten tourism association, Wilfred Simmons, at the time there were two lodges remaining, but one had to be dismantled to accommodate the new guest house.
These days, fish no longer jump into people’s boats, but Rockstone still remains the fishing destination in Region Ten. As a result the Rockstone fish Festival has over the years etched itself indelibly on the Region’s tourism Calendar.
The Historic Christianburg Waterwheel
Over the past two decades or so, the Christianburg Waterwheel has gained much prominence as one of the more popular historic sites for visitors to the town of Linden.
Many consider this most fitting, as the almost two hundred year old landmark is found in the Town’s first village.
The waterwheel is especially popular among school children from other communities, who visit the site as part of their school tours itinerary.
Coming from far and wide, students are afforded the opportunity for an up close and personal view of this historic fixture sitting on the periphery of the equally famous Katapulli creek.
These days its old neighbor the Magistrates court, formerly the Patterson Mansion, is no longer there, having being destroyed by fire a few years ago.
The old workers’ cabins that it provided electricity to are also but a distant memory, so too are those responsible for its installation.
Established in 1855, the waterwheel stands defiant to the ravages of time, a prominent fixture at Christianburg where it pioneered the supply of hydroelectricity in the Demerara region.
Its loyal neighbor, the Katapulli Creek, from which it harnessed its power all those years ago, still thunders past, a perpetual reminder of the days when they teamed up to provide electricity to the Patterson Mansion and nearby cabins.
Today the giant red wheel stands silent, proud, the lone survivor of an era past, glinting crimson in the sunlight as it awaits another deluge of visitors.
(To be continued next week)
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