This is the eleventh summer that Friends of V.I. National Park (Friends) has worked in partnership with Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Virgin Islands National Park to sponsor a student trail crew for four weeks. This year’s crew will arrive on June 15th and work on island through July 14th.
Friends’ SCA Trail Crew Program provides students ages 15-19 with a unique outdoor experience repairing and maintaining hiking trails while living in V.I. National Park. Trail crew members are introduced to a variety of topics including outdoor work, camping and hiking skills, low impact outdoor living, and a basic cultural and ecological knowledge of the island.
This summer’s crew consists of four Virgin Island students; one from St. Thomas and three from St. Croix, and four students and two crew leaders from the continental U.S.
At the request of the park’s maintenance department the crew will be clearing vegetation, building and repairing stone steps, repairing damaged drainage ditches, and removing loose rock on our trails. The effects of their work will reduce erosion to trails vulnerable to deterioration due to steep slopes, shallow topsoil, and severe rain.
At the end of the four-week program, the park will have between 6-8 miles of its most heavily utilized trails in safe and environmentally sound condition, according to Audrey Penn, Friends program manager. "Our National Parks continue to face severe maintenance challenges due to continued federal budget cuts. More and more, (the [ark) relies on volunteer groups, like SCA, to help maintain the natural and cultural resources of the park," she said.