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Advisory - Cockpit Country Bauxite Mining

The Cockpit CountryPlanning is underway for a JCO led expedition that will attempt to make a crossing of the Cockpit Country the long way, from southeast to northwest. It is expected that the journey will take six or seven days from the start point on the Troy Trail to our arrival at the Quickstep Trail. The time-frame is undetermined and is dependent on funding, but because of the nature of this endeavour, and the many arrangements that must be made, we are getting the ball rolling now.

In the past, there has been little exploration done in search of new caves and sinkholes in the central Cockpit Country; we intend to change that. When one plots the existing Register on the maps of the interior districts of the Cockpit Country, it can be seen that other than Quickstep there are few known caves. This does not mean that they do not exist, but rather that they have not yet been found. In 2001, we explored, and added to the list, Home Away Cave, south of Pantrepant and the Escarpment. In April of this year, we discovered two promising entrances north of Troy. We know that there are more caves and sinkholes hidden in the hills and valleys of the central Cockpit Country, and we're going to have a look for them.

We have chosen to put our search into the form of a transect so that other interested parties may find it productive to join us. To our knowledge, no one has attempted a crossing of the Cockpit Country in this direction for many years, if ever. We will be passing through places that have not been visited for at least decades. We expect that researchers who join us for this trek will make interesting discoveries in a variety of fields. Although our proposed route is not a true transect, because it is impossible to run an absolutely straight line from southeast to northwest in under a month, we will still come close enough to serve the same purpose; our expedition has the potential to construct a geomorphological and biological cross-section for the expanse between the Troy and Quickstep trails.

We would like to ask interested parties to consider joining us for this. The journey will not be easy, but for those who can handle seven days of scrambling through rocky hills and treacherous cockpits, while vines try to hold you back, and mosquitoes devour you, the rewards could be great.

We also invite funding. The expedition will require the hiring of porters in the early stages to carry in supplies and water from either end, as far as we can get them, in and out, during daylight hours. We need better communications gear. We need to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to transport porters to their start points. We will think of other things that we need before the planning is done. In short, we need funding. In aid of this, we have begun to make our digital maps available on the Jamaica Map page.

More information will be posted on this page as our plans firm up.

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