20 The Day New, Friday, January 30, 198
Officials: Plan carefully on road paving project
As we approach the threshold of
the year 2000, we as a people have
many battles before us. One is the
environment degradation of our
land and coastal watem .
It would be ashamed if we don't
have a comprehensive land and
water use plan in place before the
year 2000. This plan, however,
should not be in the best interest of
one group, but it should represent
the entire Virgin islands communni
Last month, I read in our local
newspapers about the paving of the
road from Craoer's Park to Point
Udall. In the past years, I have writ-
ten many articles about the East
End environment of St. Croix and
the importance of preservation for
this rare, dry shrub forest ecosys.
ten, which is one of five of its kind
in the Caribbean.
In the 1960s. Fairleigh Dickin-
son Jr. donated the East End of St.
Croix to the Virgin Islands govern-
ment for the use of Tenitorial Park.
From Point Udall, the eastern-
most land in the United States, the
Goat Hills rise to Sugarloaf Hill,
which is 672 feet high, and form a
central ridge from the point to the
lower neck between Knight Bay
and Grapctree Bay.
These hills are dry, covered with
scrub, thorn and cactus, except
where fire has burned brush and
grass has grow in its place. In guts
and where the slopes are protected
from the wind, dry forests can be
On the noat side, Cottongarden
Bay' long, sndy beach-protect-
ed by the cad of the northern banir
reef system has been developed
by the government as Qamer Park.
East of Cottongarden Point,
Boilar Bay includes a complex
ecosystem of alga, coral reefs, sea-
grass beds, and and rod A long
beach with fringng reefs becomes a
wall of cliffs leading up to Point
From Point Udall to Cramer
Park, approximately 340 acres,
almost 50 percent of the east end
peninsula is owned by the people of
the Virgin Islands. The East End
has a long wildlife and human his-
In 1952, the Municipal Council
Bill No. 30, set aside the East End
area of St. Croix "as a deer preserve
for the propagation and restoration
of the wild deer in St. Croix."
The area was also identified in
the early 1960s by the federal gov-
ernment as a nature preserve. A
decade later, the area was singled
out as an area for preservation and
restoration and nominated as a sig-
nificant natural area.
In 1982, the surrounding waters
of the East End were proposed for
candidacy as a national Marine
Sanctuary. In 1991, the East End
was recommended "to be preserved
as a multi-purpose park within the
proposed Territorial Park System."
In 1979, St. Croix's East End was
designated by the Planning Office
as one of 18 Area of Particular Con-
cemrn in the Virgin Islands.
The 18 APC's were adopted and
passed into law by the legislature
and approved by the governor in
APCs simply means as stated in
the National Coastal Zone Act to
create management policies and
provide .. procedures whereby
specific areas maybe designated for
the purpose of preserving or restor-
ing them for their conservation.
recreational, ecological, or aesthetic
The dirt road to be paved in the
East End from Cramer Park to Point
Udall falls within the APC's bound.
arises. This action by the local gov-
emnment to pave the road are ques-
tioned by some concerned citizens.
Since it is a remote area, some peo-
ple feel trash might be generated
along the road once the road is
... the East End was rec-
ommended to be pre-
served as a multi-purpose
park within the proposed
Territorial Park System.
Other people feel the endan-
gered species, green sea turtles, will
be threatened more once the road is
paved up to Point Udall.
East End bay or what I called
"Little Isaac Bay" beach has the
largest or one of the largest popula-
tion of green turtle nesting sites on
Yet, others argue the road
should not be paved because there
is no management plan in place yet
for this proposed territorial park.
Still, some believe the pave road
will take away the aesthetic beauty
of the area.
On the other side of the debate,
others feel the pave road is better
because the area will be more
accessible to the public. Many taxi
drivers agreed saying the pave road
is good for tourist business.
I talked to Public Works and the
Department of Planning and Natu-
ral Resources officials about the
paving of the road to Point UdalL
They claimed the road project
will have minimum impact on the
And if-any "foul up" occurs,
they said the project will stop
immediately. For some people, this
is hard to swallow knowing that
Public .Works records are not near
For example, the Creque Dam
rain forest road last year was paved.
In some areas the road was wider;
small trees were pushed down; and
some culverts were put in the
This is the reason I argue if we
fail to plan, we plan to fail. The
East End is another example of
putting the cart before the horse.
Olasee Davis, who has a master
ofscience degree in range manage-
ment and forestry ecology, is a St.
Croix ecologist, activist and writer.