Photo courtesy of Virgin Islands National Park. [hr gap=”1″]
ST. JOHN — The St. John Virgin Islands National Park, along with four-hundred eleven other U.S. parks, monuments, memorials and historic sites began celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service on Sunday.
Organizers at the Virgin Islands National Park in Cruz Bay say the planned events have reasons to celebrate for nature lovers, children, seniors and lovers of underwater wonders and the night sky.
VINP Ranger Corinne Fenner says activities are designed to help everyone achieve the centennial theme: Find Your Park. About eighteen volunteers from the park service and Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park worked together to create the centennial series. Fenner said all activities surrounding the centennial depend more on imagination than on resources, although the Friends group has been instrumental in providing material support.
Friends of the Park Executive Director Joe Kessler said his group was offering rudimentary support for the centennial activities, but was throwing its resources into the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Virgin Islands National Park in December. “They have a week of activities. The ones I know about are educational things they’re going to have with kids,” Kessler said. “We’re letting the park handle it themselves.”
Events marking the centennial started Sunday, August 21 with Yoga in the Park. Serenity seekers took advantage of the peaceful surroundings, starting with a one mile hike from the Visitor’s Center to Honeymoon Beach to take part in traditional East Indian stretching and meditation.
A senior day picnic is planned at the visitor’s center on August 24 from 10 am to 2 pm. And an evening’s worth of activity follows in the evening at Trunk Bay Beach, with twilight snorkeling, a naturalist presentation on bats and skywatching, complete with telescope. Those who’d like to make a night of it can attend all three activities, Fenner said.
VINP St. John Superintendent Brion Fitzgerald is expected to deliver a speech on centennial day. The superintendent will be joined by twenty St. John children in a park themed learning activity organized by the Elaine Sprauve Library, Fenner said.
A “Happy Birthday” singalong is planned as a highlight, along with presentation of a National Park birthday cake.
Friday’s planned event is Bark in the Park, although Fenner said details were still being worked out with the Animal Care Center of St. John. The idea behind Bark in the Park is for visitors to bring along their dogs for a walk in the park. Leashes are required.