Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Speak up about Sandy Point
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 Material Information
Title: Speak up about Sandy Point
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: March 17, 1995
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00099
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Daily News, March 17, 1995

Speak up about Sandy Point

In last week's article. I discussed
a brief history of Sandy Point and.
to some extent, the current conflicts
between the public and the Sandy
Point National Wildlife refuge.
Recently. I had the opportunity
to make comments on the "Public
Use Management Plan" for the
Sandy Point National Wildlife
Refuge drafted up by the U.S. Pish
and Wildlife Service.
The purpose of this plan is to lay
uut programs to ensure that all pub-
lic activities whether research-
oriented or otherwise are com-
patible with the refuge goals.
On Jan. 16. 1995. a new release
was sent out to the local media
about the "Public Management
Plan" for the Sandy Point Refuge.
Copies of this plan were also
made available at the National Pask
Service. Sandy Point NWR office
in the Federal Building In Chris-
tiansted, and Ih Caribbean Nation-
al Forest office.
Plans were also available at the
St. Croix Environmental Associ-
tion. St. Croix Hotel Associaton.
St. Croix Chamber of Commerce.
Rotary Club of St. Croix West.
DPNR Division of Environmental
Enforcement. Coastal Zone Man-
agement. Virgin Islands Depart-
ment of Tourim. University of the



Virgin Islands Eastern Caribbean
Center. UVI Cooperative Extension
Service. and many other govern-
ment and non-governmental organi-
Thus. we as the public should
have no excuse for not giving our
comments about this important
issue. Sandy Point is the longest
stretch of sandy white beach in the
Virgin Islands. Its geological for-
maton is unique in this pat of the
According to geologists, the
Sandy Point peninsula probably
grew as sand was deposited by
osclllating north and south shore
cunrents that formed spits.
The Westend Salt Point within
the Sandy Point ecosystem was
believed to have been created dur-
ing the Pleistocene epoch about one
million years ago from sand spits
that gradually closed In to form the
ilt pond.
This formation of Sandy Point
beach probably developed its deep

waters forming coral reefs on the
western side of the beach.
Because most beaches on St.
Croix have some kind of ree sys-
lem near the shore. Sandy Point Is
considered the best beach on St.
Croix for recreation activities.
People prefer beaches that are
sandy white and without rocks or
coral reefs in their way. The prob-
lem is that leathorback sea turtles
like Sandy Point beach, also.
Leatbhrback sea turtles prefer
sandy beaches with deep water with
no ref. The coral reef tend to cut
their backs as they approach the
beach to lay their eggs.
Another reason is that
loatherback sea turtles are deep
diven. which make Sandy Point's
deep water perfect for emerging on
and off the land.
This doesn't mean that
leatherback sea turtles do not lay
eggsa o other beaches on St. Croix.
But Sandy Point is a classic
leatherback nesting beach area
because of it complex and dynamic
The beach on Sandy Point. how.
ever. is the most unstable on St.
Croix according to Dr. D. Hubbard
a geologist. He ad. "that the sand
W See OLASE. page 17

Refuge can be enjoyed by us all

supply of Sandy Point is due to
large amount of carbonate-produc-
ing algae, which exists offshore."
Probably this is why the area gets
its name.
Between the 1970s and 1983.
the West Indies Investment Compa-
ny mined sand within 100-150 feet
off the shore of Sandy Point. Plans
were made also to expand the oper-
ation into a large resort develop-
However, it was the public par-
ticipation that blocked this dvelop-
meat at Sandy Point when activist
Otto Tnberg. a native Cuzan. and
others campaign heavily against the
killing of nesting sea turtles.
Because of these activists. Sandy
Point became a National Wildlife
Refuge. Yes. it was Crucians who
saved this beautiful pan of St. Ctoix

for the people of these islands. So
why the conflicts between we and
them? How can we and them work
this out when especially on the
weekends large amounts of trash
are accumulated at the refuge?
How can we and them work this
out when trash attracts mongoose,
which threaten the nesting sea tur-
tes and birds?
How can w work this out when
volleyball and horseshoes poke into
the sand are life-threening to the
emerging hatchlings.
How can we and them work this
out when horses trample on emerg-
ing hatchlings?
How can we and them work this
out when vehicles that drive
through the refuge damage both
flora and fauna and impede the

movement of hatchlings to the sea?
How can we and them work this
out when loud car speakers and
other stereo equipment disrupts
both sea turtle and bird nesting?
We have another oppommity to
make things right with our short-
comings of protecting.dcfenseless
wildlife at Sandy Point refuge.
The public hearing on the "Pub-
lic Use Management Plan" will be
coming up soon. Believe me. we all
can participate in making Sandy
Point refuge enjoyable for both
human and wildlife if we wanted to.

Olasee Davis, who hold a mas-
ter of science degree in range man.
agement and forestry ecology. Is a
St. Croix ecologist, activist and

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