Trail Bandit Email Concerning the Closure of the White Cliffs Trail

St. John Trails: White Cliffs
White Cliffs Trail

Virgin Islands National Park Service Closes White Cliffs TrailBob Garrison’s email concerning the closure of the White Cliffs Trail and 325 acres of the St. John National Park to the public
by Bob Garrison (aka The Trail Bandit)

There is more to the story behind the closure of this area than is being told by the Park Service. The people behind getting this area declared OFF LIMITS are none other than the dynamic duo of Eleanor Gibney and Gary Ray. Eleanor Gibney has a long history on St. John of trying to keep her special places hidden from the rest of us. One comment of hers that I have always liked is ”There are places where people should not go” except her and her friends of course. It seems that Gibney and Ray have been able to secure the White Cliffs as their own private place. Now that they have one place secured, I will bet that there will be others.

The Park Service did note in passing that an effort will be made to get Eugenia Earhartii listed on the federal endangered species list. What they should have told us is that Eugenia Earhartii is not on any endangered species list except the one in the minds of Gibney and Ray. Perhaps the plant should be renamed Eugenia Eleanorii which in English would be Eleanor’s Stopper. That sounds appropriate to me. Gary Ray has other ideas about how to claim more areas to protect without actually having to go there. This would help with Ms. Gibney’s idea of “places where people should not go.”

Gary says:
“Drones could be particularly useful in tropical forests where much of the vegetation and wildlife is hidden from view or hard to survey due to the geography. A drone can fly over large areas of forest, hover over interesting bits, spot wildlife movement, or observe illegal deforestation in real-time to alert authorities. The environmental uses of drones is limited only by the imagination and field needs of the researcher. In the Virgin Islands, endangered species surveys are underway to identify species like Eugenia earhartii, an endemic plant only found on steep, rocky and treacherous slopes. Remote drones could be employed to easily access habitats where the plant might exist thus saving research time and surveyor energy to locate and map the rare species”

Eugenia Earhartii Eugenia Earhartii
Here are a couple of photos of Eugenia earhartii from the illustrious Doctor Gary Ray

Perhaps he has something like the Predator in mind so that the various areas could be watched and any intruders could be eliminated. When the US finally gets itself out of the mess in Afghanistan, these aircraft could be made available to the ever expanding enforcement arm of the VINP.

Another thing that was mentioned by Gerald is that the trail along the White Cliffs is not new. It was used by workers in the 1800s to get back and forth between Europa Bay and Reef Bay. It is a historic trail and not, as the NPS claims a new, illegal trail.

This recently closed area and much of the dry forest area along the south shore of St. John is the home to herds of feral goats. Goats will eat anything and when food supplies get low, they eat everything. Closing this area to a few hikers who want to hike along this beautiful trail will do nothing to save any plant or prevent damage to the soil. The goats are the real culprits. Goats typically move into areas where people don’t go. Perhaps the signs should read “Please stay on the trail to protect rare plants”. This park was created to save the area for the enjoyment of all the people and future generations. It was not created for the sole enjoyment of the team of Gibney, Ray and company.

It is your park. Help fight to keep it open to all.

See St. John source article

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Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00

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Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00

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776 6378

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