Virgin Islands park critic changes tune

Trailmap The St. John 'Trail Bandit' has some kind words for the latest National Park Superintendent, Mark Hardgrove.

Bob Garrison, an inveterate hiker, had been saddened to have watched the VI park 'decay' over the years.  "It is too bad that there are so many employees who can get away with doing as little as possible," he told St. John's Gerry Singer. But in an interview, he added he is 'pleased and encouraged' by the changes that Mark Hardgrove has made. "A number of old trails have been officially reopened."

This is a generous attitude, given that a few years ago when Garrison drew up his own, comprehensive map of the island's many hiking trails, Park officials told him he had no right to do so.  That didn't stop him.

"The map that the NPS (National Park service) gives our has never been worth much," Garrison told Singer.  So, in 2006, he refined an original map he made and two years later, and drew a map which is available at the Park headquarters building.

On his Web site, Garrison sells a trail map for $2. (Come on! Buy a dozen.)  The maps can also be downloaded from his Web site.  In addition, he offers a version of which you can load into a Garmin GPS.

3 thoughts on “Virgin Islands park critic changes tune”

  1. The changes the VI National Park is making are striking and positive. The new signage and improved trails improve access and they’re making visitors more aware of our fragile ecosystem. We should encourage and applaud their efforts. It seems to be working for all.

  2. Huge improvement in the last couple years, whatever the Superintendant is doing , keep it up! Love the new signs, they really make you feel safe. Hikers should carry small pruners and snip as they go, especially overhanging branches that could hide wasps. Many people doing a little makes a big difference. If you’re unhappy with the trail maintenance, contact the Park with a copy to the NPS in DC, your congressmen and senators. STJ is truly a gem for all to enjoy.

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