Sunday, Jan 17, 2021, 6:30am: Hike to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge

General info for all hikes and walks: Hikes and walks are $5 for members, and $10 for non-members (become a member). Unless otherwise noted, the pace for hikes is moderate, lasting 3-5 hours, covering 3-5 miles, the terrain is hilly, footing is sometimes uneven, and we follow trails and possibly paved or dirt roads. Walks are easier and shorter than hikes, and usually follow paved or dirt roads, no trails. The guide may periodically stop and talk along the way. Bring sturdy, comfortable walking or hiking shoes, water, snack, bug spray, rain poncho, and camera. Shorts or long pants are OK. For day hikes, bring a hat and sun block. For night hikes, bring a small flashlight. There are usually about 20 people. We depart about 30 minutes after the posted start time. For some hikes, we will meet at the indicated location, then drive a short distance to the hike location.

Specific info for this hike: The St. Croix Hiking Association has scheduled a hike to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, January 17, 2021.  Natural, cultural, & the history of the site will be discussed. It is a dry forest ecosystem peninsula and home to the endangered species - leatherback sea turtles. It is an easy walk. Bring water, snack, & face mask. We will be practicing social distancing. The hike should be about 5 miles total.

Meeting place is at the end of Melvin M Evans Highway for 6:30am. Olasee Davis, ecologist, is our tour guide. For more information,  Or Cathy at 340-772-2073.

Area info: Known as Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, the area was once mined for sand, from the late 1970's to 1982. The West Indies Investment Company mined the beach sand to within 100 to 150 feet of the southeast shoreline. Over the years the shoreline has restored itself.

It was Otto Tranberg, a native Crucian who began the campaign to protect the turtles. In 1979, the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated a strip of land as "critical habitat" for the nesting of leatherback turtles. There are also over 100 species of birds, and endangered plants in the area. It is the longest beach area in the Virgin Islands, and its geological formation is unique in this region of the Caribbean. The coral reef system and open sea that surrounds Sandy Point support a large variety of marine organisms.


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