Moyenne Island: The Strange Story Of The World's Smallest National Park

The planet which we call home is both diverse and beautiful. With its various types of climates and terrains, it is somewhat unique among the other celestial bodies in our solar system. According to National Geographic, there are five spheres that when they interact with each other they influence Earth's environment. One of the most popular and fascinating climates in the world is known as equatorial climate, more commonly referred to as tropical rainforest climate.

Some of the world's most popular travel destinations are places that possess this type of climate. The warm and wet environments in places like Hawaii, Bali, and Barbados make them great places to vacation for many people. However, as more people travel to these locations, it begins to take a toll on the surrounding environments. In order to protect many of these places, national parks have been established. In fact, the world's smallest national park is a tropical island in the Seychelles, and it has an unusual story surrounding how it came to be.

Brendon Grisham Falls In Love With Moyenne

In the 1960s, a man named Brendon Grisham was living and working as a newspaper editor in East Africa (per BBC). While he was very successful at his job, as more countries in Africa became independent entities, Grisham realized his position would likely soon be taken over by local citizens. As such, he began planning his exit strategy. He decided he wanted to be more involved with the natural world and had a dream of purchasing his own island.

Grisham traveled to the Seychelles while on vacation in 1962 and began exploring the many islands the country had to offer. He was rather disappointed to find that there were not many of the islands that were up for sale at the time, and if by some chance they were, the asking prices were astronomical. It was almost his last day on the island when he was approached by a man wanting to sell Moyenne Island to him. Grisham reportedly fell head over heels in love with the look and the location of the place and purchased it for £8,000, which adjusted for inflation would be about £132,000 in 2022, or $163,000

Moyenne Becomes A National Park

According to BBC, before Grisham bought it, Moyenne had essentially been abandoned for years. Though it is one of the smaller islands that make up the Seychelles, it still has some of the features that draw tourists to the bigger islands. Tons of trees, giant boulders, and white beaches created a little piece of paradise. It was actually this tiny island's appeal that concerned Grisham, as tourism to the Seychelles began to grow.

Though Moyenne had a rough natural beauty, it definitely needed some cleaning up. Grisham was apparently the man for the job. He turned Moyenne from an 'overgrown brush pile' into a gorgeous nature preserve. Grisham transplanted many types of trees and plants to add to the small island's beauty, which in turn brought native birds over from other islands in the area (per Atlas Obscura). Additionally, he brought in 120 tortoises to live on the island and breed. They still inhabit Moyenne and are some of its most famous residents. Under Grisham's care and attention, Moyenne blossomed. In his later years, he set up a trust with the Seychelles' Ministry of Environment that would protect the island in perpetuity and it was granted status as a national park.