ADVENTURES IN TUMUCUMAQUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK.
I had many adventures in these mountains, before this national park was created by the Brazilian government on August 23rd 2002. Forming the border with Surinam and French Guiana it totals 38,874 square kilometres making it the world's largest tropical forest park - larger than Belgium.
When put together with the adjoining Guiana Amazonian Park in French Guiana, the total protected area totals 59,174 square kilometres.
When so much of the remaining Amazon rainforest is threatened by cattle ranching, soya farming and hydroelectric schemes, this has been a welcome development.
Of course there weren't many threats to this area in the immediate future anyway. No roads reach its border, and access to the park by river is extremely difficult, due to a barrier of rapids and waterfalls, that I've negotiated a few times.
However there still are many groups of gold miners who are operating in the Park.
The newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro is known to be antagonistic to Indian reserves or protected territory that, in his opinion, thwarts development in the Amazon rainforest. This means there will be new assaults on the forest, and deforestation had been bad enough over recent years when protective legislation was supposedly in place.
The re-election of the new president Lula promises a return to sanity, although there will be a lot of opposition from Bolsonaro allies in Congress.
My four canoe trips into the area.
In 1983 Peter Strub and I ascended the Jari river as far as the headwaters of the Mapaoni on a trip that lasted 5 months. Malaria and leishmaniasis (photo at top) were contracted on this trip.
In 1987 I flew into Molocopote airstrip on the upper Jari with Heather my wife, and we paddled down to Monte Dourado.
In 1990 Peter and I were filmed on the Mapaoni river and the Ximim Ximim tributary for the 30 minute TV programme 'John Harrison Explorer'.
In 1991 Heather and I made a crossing of the Tumucumaque from Molocopote to Maripasoula in French Guiana, via the Mapaoni, Ouaremapaan and Litani rivers.
Accounts of these journeys can be found in the books 'Up the Creek' and 'Into the Amazon'. Details of both can be found on this website under 'Publications".