Thursday, June 29. 2000. The Daily News
Is Great Pond a priority?
Da s Da, a, ecologist, is a
Daily Ae contbrlring colhmnnist.
He live wr St. Co.
On Dec. 22. 1999. Judge Alphon-
so G. Andrews Jr. issued an order to
the V.L. government enforcing the
charitable trust of Estate Great Pond
plots 5 and 6, better known as
Camp Arawak. In 1974. Frank
Wtner deeded 14.5 acres of land
East End Quarter A to the people of
the Virgin Islalad and visitors of its
shores. Wiesner was very specific
when lie deeded the land to the peo-
ple of these islands.
Following the judge's order, the
government of the Virgin Islands
designated Commissioner Ira M.
Hobson. of the Housing. Parks and
Recreation Department, the respon-
sibility of creating a master plan for
the Great Pond/Camp Arawak site.
Under the commissioner's leader-
ship, a master plan of the Camp
Arawak site was developed. The
master plan was submitted to the
governor, however, he asked for an
extension from the court on the
implementation of the plan for
The question is how long will the
extension continue before the devel-
opment of Camp Arawak?
Last week at the Camp Arawak
site, I gave a historical, cultural
and ecological talk to representa-
tives of tourist companies and
visiting tourism journalists.
Of course. I talked about how St.
Croix has a heritage tourist product
that needed to be promoted. The
tourism journalists asked me many
questions and took lots of pictures
of the Great Pond Bay area.
However, what disturbed all of us is
the condition of the area. The whole
Great Pond site possesses consider-
able historic archaeological poten-
However, what dis-
turbed all of us is the
condition of the area.
The whole Great Pond
site possesses consider-
able historic archaeo-
logical potential and an
ecological wonder as a
tourist product for the
economy of St. Croix.
tia and an ecological wonder as a
tourist product for the economy of
We have a governor who is a his-
torian by profession. You would
think that the Great Pond Bay area
would be a priority since the gover-
nor is the trustee of the property for
the people of these islands. We all
know the financial condition of the
territory. hut this administration
could do something to control the
soil erosion along the shore of the
Camp Arawak site.
Since Commissioner Hobson was
designated by the governor to come
up with a master plan for the area,
he at least could put a large rock at
the entrance of the dirt road to stop
people from driving their vehicles
onto the hay. This will help keep the
vehicles off the din road from fur-
ther eroding the road. On the cast
side of the great house of Camp
Arawak. there is an pre-Columbian
Indian site. as well as a site of his-
torical and cultural interest from the
This area is also driven on by
vehicles that take the din road that
lead to the beach. While there is an
extension not to implement the mas-
ter plan for the Camp Arawak area
pre-Columbian. European and
enslaved Africans artifacts are being
driven on and washed away by rain.
In this area alone. Real Aerospace
Technologies Inc. archaeologists
found more than 200 artifacts laying
on the ground surface. Meanwhile.
the bay is being impacted by soil
erosion as vehicles drive on the dirt
The bay of Great Pond has
numerous patch reefs scattered
throughout the shallow water with
sea depths of less tha 0lO fet.
Further out of the bay is LH"aim
reef system, one of the best rcet'sys-
tems in the Caribbean. This coraJ
reof system was designated by the
federal government as a protected
area because of its marine resources.
The reef ecosystem extends almost
the entire length of the bay and
beyond, and is teeming with hard
and soft coral and a variety of fish
The bay sea grasses and beaches
are also important for foraging and
nesting habitat for sea turtles. The
shallow mudflats provide a resting
and foraging area for thousands of
resident and migratory birds.
As Camp Arawak hangs in politi-
cal uncertainty, the land and sea of
the area continue to be jeopardized
by people who hold the future of
Great Pond Bay in their hands.