20 The lDve Narws. FIAdaw. APM~ 1 .1,197
St. Croix a perfect landscape for wilderness areas
I support Ihe concept of rhe
Comprehensive Land and Water
Use Plan for these islands but here
is no mention of a Terrilorial Parke
System within the proposed pil. In
the 1b70C. a bill was passed to
establish a Territorial Park Systems
to protect special creas Of environ-
nental silfcan to the people of
the Virgin i.slands. J n
In 2he Virgin lslta itd Develop-
ment Law of the Land Use Plea.
Section 232 intenstity District i:
Conservation. staled. "This district
it ocated In undeveiooed and
spariely developed aUas that uare
cnvironmenially v ionTirined, lack
adequate infrastrucure a d are not
subdivided for residential or com-
Lands arc not just valuable for
housing and other manmade devel-
up+ocOl. Sut -"undcveloeid lands"
such us wilderness eta are valu-
able in Ways not easily measured by
our economic system. These agas
tar critical habitats for' wildlife; as
te.ansaing agent and Ttorage basins
for our water supply: as irreplace-
able reservoirs of bhsodtvec.iuy. -nd
Friday, 11,1997 2
a cave in the mountainside for
manlly years before they were caught
by their slIave owners. Hams Bluff
is the only place in the Virgin
Illands with a lighthouse.
Annally and Wills Bay each
have a natural park setting. From
the mountains and hills forest of
different trees, shrubs and vines
species to open pasture and coral
rte make this environment a per-
Oc setting for recreation adven-
tioes. Then, we have Sweet Bottom
Bay and Maroon Hole, which arc so
Believe me, St. Croix can
hbeillRe a ecotourism destination if
ne only plan correctly. We can start
Ibs by creating a Territorial Park
$SFei to protect wilderness areas
w1 4M enhance our economy.
Olasee Davis, who has a master
of science degree in range manage-
menit adl forestry ecology, is a St.
Croix ecologist, activist ant writer.
as places to renew the human
though. contest with Olaure.
The Virgin Islands have a
set aside as wilderness park
have National Parks. No
Wildlife Rcfuge, Ntional I
Sanctuaries and other sayre
perot socing valuable land and
environment. In 1956. the
Island National Park was
liihbd ort St. John.
The park has an area of
actes. not to mnenion the cur
spirit Ing Waters which, taken together
amount to about 14,688 acreage.
o land The..paxk has mountains 1.277 feet
a. W high and large ar.as of host tree
tions spci native to she island. Close
aforie by. the .lridsh Virgin Islands have
mns of two national parks administered by
coastal the National Park Trust. On ToPola.
Virgin Sage Mountain National Park is
e rab- about Sa ere in asis.
Sage Mountin has s the highest
14.411 pekh in the Virgin Islands 1.7"0
round- feat aWhe sah levlt and supports
a unique mountain forest ecosys-
tern. aorda Peaek National Park on
Virgin Ourdn contains undisturbed
forest with a peak of 1.374 feet
thova e level. However. there ae
no wilderness parks in the Brilish or
the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When the first white settlers
arrived in the United Sirs.. forest
covered nearly half the continent.
Today, the 48 states have lets than
5 percent of their virgin forests. The
industrial revolution, which
occurred between 1860s a l1900s.
brought the greatest cutting of vir-
gin forest. For more than 0 years
in the Unhed States, legsistion and
major administrative actions have
shaped federal and state outdoor
The first acts to protect forests
came in 1866. Many other acts by
Congress followed, including the
"Widerneas At At. s wih the
destruction of virgin forest in the
United States, the Virgin Islands
experienced the same tragedy. In
1 52, Rev. John P. Knox related
circumstances connected with forest
by the establishment of the French
colony on St. Crolx.
.He stated the dense and aged
forest that covered the islUnd of St.
Croix was set on fire by French
colonists. Today, there are small
patches of virgin forest left on the
northwest side of the island. To m.e,
St Croix is the tastfrontier of the
Virgin Islands and good planning
will preserve the island natural
There are large acres of undevel-
oped land. especially on the north-
side of the ilantd. I accept St.
Thom as the cosmopolitan capital
of the Virgin Islands. Historically.
St. Thomas was always a trading
center of the Caribbean. Two-thirds
of St. John is ia national park admin-
isterod by the National Park Ser-
vica. Why notl create u wilderness
park on St. Croix under the Territo-
rial Park Systemr'
St. Croix hots hil. liud ahd ieu
natural beauty itha none o the sohtor
Virgin [slund.s an compare with.
acrLi Diu,'ien Flay. Annolny Bay.
M.iroon Flp..lL. Maroon Htile and
Hams IBluff u r perfect places to
create the first Tcrrilrr.ul P-rk
wilJLerncsr astrk ,n 11, rI.'gin
hlilands. These easu. .in.r >t nsl'n.ann
culturally, historically and environ-
mrnctally to the people of these
Maroon Ridge ist known for a
group ot' slaves who jumped off the
cliff and killed them-elves- In addi-
dion to that, ic Is known for a group
of staves who hid themselves inside
W See WILDERNES, page 21