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HomeNewsArchivesEaster Camping Begins on St. Croix

Easter Camping Begins on St. Croix

Families set up Easter camping north of Frederiksted (Bill Kossler photo). Easter is coming and tents are suddenly exploding in multicolored profusion like a bougainvillea hedgerow in bloom. All over the coast of St. Croix, people are gathering at the beach for family time leading up to the holy day.

Taking a break from the usual hustle and bustle of life, families meet at Salt River, Dorsch Beach, La Vallee, Cane Bay, Great Pond, Ha’penny, Campo Rico, Altoona Lagoon and myriad other locations to sit and talk, swim, boat, fish, cook, eat, play dominoes, cards or board games – and sleep.

Out at Cramer Park, Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson and his family will again be holding their unity retreat, a structured, summer camp-like experience for boys and girls. Every year for the past 15 years, Nelson and his family have hosted the youth camp. The object is to get kids away from the usual setting of video games and TV and doing more outside activities.

The camp has hikes down to Jack and Isaac Bay, a daily beach cleanup and other structured activities for the children.

"This is our 15th year and we will be at our usual spot at Cramer Park," Nelson said Monday. "With all the stress in our community right now I want to encourage families to go camping and use this beginning of spring to resurrect and rejuvenate their spirit."

There will be hikes, sunrise church services, daily topical discussions, group counseling, morning exercises and competitive games, Nelson said. "For the adults, we will be playing keno and dominoes at night."

Nelson thanked Housing, Parks and Recreation for keeping the restrooms and park in good condition the last few years, and he reminded campers to keep the park clean and take care of the facilities.

This year the camp is dedicated to Eustace "Boomer" James, who Nelson said may not be able to camp with them this year because of medical conditions. This year’s theme is "Celebrating Families, Celebrating Life," he said. The camp will run April 5 to 8.

There is a $65 fee to help cover supplies for regular camp activities and food for three meals a day, Thursday through Sunday. For more information, parents can call Nelson at his Senate office at 712 -2210 or call 778-3448 and leave a message.

Cramer Park should be in good shape for the unity retreat campers and the many others who flock to that spot every year. According to Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams, all minor repairs have been addressed, showers heads are in place, and grounds have been groomed in preparation for the annual seaward migration.

Staff has been assigned to work throughout the week to maintain the restrooms, dispose of trash from the garbage receptacles and to provide lifeguard services, Williams said, adding that they rely on the public to help maintain a clean environment and to report any vandalism.

Picnic tables have been installed at the Estate Great Pond Park, formerly Camp Arawak, he said. “Great Pond Park has a serene, peaceful atmosphere and is a great place to have family picnics and outings,” Williams said, encouraging residents and visitors to “utilize this beautiful, God-given natural resource.”

The Parks Department is coordinating with the V.I. Police Department to provide regular security patrols and help reduce traffic congestion, Williams said, urging campers to obey all the posted park regulations and traffic signs.

Being respectful and not leaving trash behind is important at all campsites.

Those who want to camp on the Columbus Landing site at Salt River must get permits from the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

Campers may pick up guidelines and permits at DPNR’s Division of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Office located at Fort Frederik Museum or at the Division of Environmental Enforcement Office at Estate Anna’s Hope.

For more information, call the Division of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Office at 719-7089 or the Division of Environmental Enforcement at 773-5774.

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