The Washington Slagbaai National Park is located on the north side of Bonaire and consists of two former land plantations, Washington and Slagbaai. The national park covers an area of just over 5,600 hectares. The two plantations once supplied salt, charcoal, aloe extracts, divi-divi pods and goats for export to Curaçao and Europe. The plantation of Washington was assured after the death of the owner “Boy” Herrera in 1969 for conservation as a nature reserve.
First nature reserve Antilles
Boy Herrera negotiated with the government about the takeover after his death, with the condition that it would remain an undeveloped area, “for the enjoyment of the people”. This made the area (then Washington National Park) the first nature reserve of the (former) Netherlands Antilles and in 1979 the land plantation Slagbaai was added to WNP to create WSNP. The park is currently managed by STINAPA Bonaire.
Slaughter Bay or not?
Nice to know: the story goes that the name Slagbaai is a corruption of the Dutch word Slaughter Bay. In the past the cattle were slaughtered here, salted and dried and then shipped to Curaçao. The story goes on to say that the owner of Washington originally called his plantation “America”, but that it was popularly soon renamed “Plantage Washington”.