More Great Work Completed in National Park!

Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography
Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography

Well folks, we have more great news to share with you all today! Thanks to the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park, the Francis Bay walking trail has been repaired and is now open to all visitors. And you know what? It looks great! Here are all of the details straight from Friends of the Park:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the boardwalk, it weaves park visitors through the forest of sea grape, maho, and mangroves between the beach and the salt pond, offering a unique and valuable opportunity for people to peacefully observe the animals and plants that thrive in the marsh-like ecosystem. Since the Friends first constructed the handicap-accessible boardwalk more than 10 years ago, VINP has offered weekly ranger-led birding hikes and provided field trips to hundreds of classrooms. Additionally, the boardwalk is noted as a prime bird-watching trail by the VI Audubon Society and has been visited by scores of professional and amateur ornithologists. With the reconstruction of the boardwalk, these activities can resume.

Work to restore the trail began on April 16th with the Friends’ trail rehabilitation crew led by Friends Trails Coordinator Mark Gestwicki and Friends President Joe Kessler. Over the course of the restoration project dozens of volunteers joined the crew, including a young men’s service group from the Foundation House of Portland, Maine. Most of the boardwalk and its lumber was able to be salvaged, however, the process of recouping materials and rebuilding required creative field engineering. All areas of the trail are open and passable as a result of these individuals’ diligent and thoughtful labor. (Please note that the first viewing platform will be completed as soon as the water recedes.)

Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography
Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography
Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography
Image credit: Yelena Rogers Photography

The Friends would like to share special appreciation for the considerable efforts and time given by Jeff Chabot, as well as to Todd Roskin for his contribution of lumber. The project was partially financed with donations from the VI Audubon Society, the Keely Family, memorial gifts made by friends and family of Mark Moroney, and members of the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park.

It’s honestly amazing to see the sheer amount of kindness and hard work happening here on island. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say we are truly grateful.

If you would like more information on volunteering for Friends of the Park during your next trip to St. John, please contact Karen Jarvis at [email protected] or call (340) 779-4940. 

Have a great Thursday everyone!

7 thoughts on “More Great Work Completed in National Park!”

  1. Some time ago, you said you would show us the best of St. John. I’m so humbled to see it continuing. So many people, one hand at a time ….

    • September 5, 2017: “I love this little island, and I know you all do too. Our lives here are about to change, and we’re going to need all of your love and support once this thing passes. We’re about to see the worst life can throw at us. But then we’re going to experience the best of humanity once this thing passes.

      “Hurricane Irma may be strong, but St. John is stronger. And that gives me hope.”

      You have a great memory Mike. And like you, I am so humbled to see it continuing as well.

  2. This post made my day. My husband and I (long time Love City visitors) were on island at the 6th month anniversary of the storm in March. There was so much positive energy, a strong spirit of resilience, and an impressive amount of progress made. But when I went to Francis one day (my favorite beach), I broke down in tears when I saw chards of old boardwalk with the walking/birding trail nowhere to be found. I wondered, with so much to do, if this would even be a priority to rebuild. I am so thankful to those who took the time and energy to bring this peaceful place back. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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