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Monday, May 20, 2024


June 26, 2001 – A $30,000 contribution by the West Indian Company Ltd. will keep the development of the St. Croix Heritage Trail on track.
The St. Croix Landmarks Society announced WICO’s donation on Monday, about three months after Heritage Trail coordinators warned the Turnbull administration at the trail’s official opening that if money wasn’t found, the project’s administrative office would have to close. Such a move would have effectively stopped any more work to further enhance the 72-mile long tourism project.
At the official opening of the Heritage Trail in March, Gov. Charles Turnbull, a historian, promised to find the $30,000 to keep the project going. As governor, Turnbull sits on the WICO board of directors.
"The Turnbull administration was instrumental in putting forward this idea to WICO," said George Tyson, the Heritage Trail coordinator. "We are very grateful to WICO for the support. We’ll be active in the next six months."
Edward Thomas, WICO board chairman, said, "The board was most pleased to make this contribution to the St. Croix Landmarks Society. It is our true desire to see cruise tourism improve on the island of St. Croix. We hope that the Heritage Trail project will give impetus to others to create more attractions that can be sold as pre-paid tours."
Heritage Trail staff have been working with the Department of Public Works, the Tourism Department and the private sector on projects designed to enhance the trail as a tourism product and to generate operational revenue.
The Heritage Trail project, which was conceived four years ago, is being funded by $250,000 in federal highway money. Engineers from the Eastern Federal Lands Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation have already visited St. Croix to survey scenic overlook and pullover areas on the trail. Tyson said it is hoped that work on those additions to the trail will be started by the end of the year. Four of the overlooks will be on Scenic Drive West and one will be above Great Pond on the island’s south shore.
In its effort to market St. Croix as a heritage destination, trail staff have already produced 25,000 copies of a Heritage Trail brochure and map and placed directional road signs along the route. Several publications have also featured articles on the island’s newest tourism feature.
"The Heritage Trail is a tourism product that is of great interest to travel writers," Tyson said.
Also in the works is the production of a self-guiding audio tape, training programs for taxi drivers and tour operators, placement of historical markers in Christiansted and Frederiksted, and the establishment of an "Adopt-a-Ruin" program for unmanaged but accessible historic sites such as Anna’s Hope, Diamond School and Great Pond.
"The Trail has recently become one of the most publicized tourism products in the U.S. Virgin Islands," said Nancy Finegood, St. Croix Landmarks executive director. "The Landmarks Society’s Board of Trustees, members and staff are very grateful that WICO has recognized the importance of the Heritage Trail."
The West Indian Company, Ltd. is a cruise lines ships agent and manager of the Havensight Shopping Mall in St. Thomas. The St. Croix Heritage Trail shares office space with Our Town Frederiksted at # 69 King Street. For more information, call 713-8563 or 772-0598.

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