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‘Much more than a building’: Sage Mountain National Park gets Visitor Centre

The unveiling of the plaque for the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre was done on December 22, 2016. Among those in photo are Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL), Deputy Premier Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and Opposition Leader and Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA. Photo: VINO
Mr Denville Hodge cuts the ribbon to signal the opening of the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre as Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (left) and Deputy Premier Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering look on. Photo: VINO
Mr Denville Hodge cuts the ribbon to signal the opening of the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre as Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (left) and Deputy Premier Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering look on. Photo: VINO
Acting Director of the National Parks Trust (NPT), Lynda Varlack addresses the gathering yesterday, December 22, 2016. Photo: VINO
Acting Director of the National Parks Trust (NPT), Lynda Varlack addresses the gathering yesterday, December 22, 2016. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) checks out the information available in the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) checks out the information available in the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre. Photo: VINO
Premier and Minister for Tourism, Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) browses through the informative items available at the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre. Photo: VINO
Premier and Minister for Tourism, Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) browses through the informative items available at the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre. Photo: VINO
SAGE MOUNTAIN, Tortola, VI- Fifty-two years after Sage Mountain which boasts of the highest peak of 1,716 feet and some 86 acres in the Virgin Islands (UK), became the first National Park, it has again made history.

On Thursday December 22, 2016, the Sage Mountain National Park Visitor Centre, the first of three visitor centres in the territory, was officially dedicated via an unveiling of the plaque and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The centre, which aims to welcome all to the park, consists of information on wildlife, plants as well as a brief history of the park, and will also provide souvenirs for purchase, and washroom facilities.

The project entitled “Management of Protected Areas to Support Sustainable Economies (MPASSE) Project” is a partnership between the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI)with the Turks and Caicos National Trust (TCINT), Cayman Islands National Trust (CINT) and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF) and is funded by the European Union (EU’) and runs under the name: Management of Protected Areas to Support Sustainable Economies (MPASSE) from the 9th European Development Fund (EDF).

The grant was about € 500, 60.00 or US$61, 357.79.

More than a building

Deputy Premier and Minister for National Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) stated, that the undertaking which has been long in coming is much more than a building.

“A visitor centre represents much more than just a building. It represents our commitment to protecting our future, that’s what we are celebrating here today, it represents us saying that we appreciate what we have and we are going to do what is necessary to ensure that the next generation will not only benefit from it but will be to have an enhanced facility,” he noted.

Tourism benefits

In addition, another critical economic pillar of the territory -tourism- is said to be further enhanced.

“What we are doing here today holds immense significance for us as a people and as a country,” Hon Pickering added. “In order for our tourism product to continue to be enhanced we have to continue to offer the visitor experience and enhance it.”

Opened, finally

Chairperson of the National Parks Trust (NPT) of the Virgin Islands Ms Ayana S. Hull was also relieved that the project was finally completed. “My fellow board members and I are very proud and slightly relieved actually that we can finally witness the opening of this facility.”

She said while she has only been on board for a year now but has “witnessed enough to understand the long gestation period full of labour pains throughout, but especially at the end. You see it had been quite a successful whirlwind of a love affair by contractors,  engineers, project managers, but all that is in the past, today we are here, we are finally here, we have kept the faith and we have delivered this baby,” she remarked.

She added that the Visitor center will stand as a monument of the Trust’s commitment to continue to partner with the stakeholders to deliver fresh and improved services for all who visit the park.

Centre was delivered on budget

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Mrs Rosalie Adams and Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) also delivered brief remarks, with the Premier stating that the initiative was commendable and a great addition to the eco-tourism product.

Mrs Adams noted that the project being delivered on budget speaks volumes of the NPT’s management and supervision and added she is certain that from the level of the European Union this will be positively evaluated. “You have demonstrated a high level of financial responsibility and transparency and that is not to be overlooked.”

In addition, another visitor centre will be opened in Copper Mine on Virgin Gorda and Rock Iguana Headstart Facility on Anegada soon.

8 Responses to “‘Much more than a building’: Sage Mountain National Park gets Visitor Centre”

  • Yes (23/12/2016, 09:46) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    I believe andrew got to be jealous
    • @ lol (23/12/2016, 13:46) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      stop trying to caused confusion we could have both a Chairman and Opposition Leader not being the same person just like Ralph and Fraser was
    • virginislander (23/12/2016, 15:48) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Fraser lucky Dr. Pickering has class and did not kick him off the programme..funny man like Butee is a child
  • 911 (23/12/2016, 10:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Its about time yall
  • Me (23/12/2016, 10:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    two weeks ago the park was in a bad state.i hope area are now in order as i met rotting steps and dangerous walkways.
  • dog (23/12/2016, 12:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I hope that any new buildings are in keeping with small scale local architecture and not something that disney-fies
    national parks. I will have to go and see. The more building the less authenticity and contrived experience.
    "pave paradise and put up a parking lot.... put a tree in the tree museum and charge people a dollar and a half just to see them".
    • Roger Burnett (24/12/2016, 12:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      I remember that this was on the agenda way back in the 1980”. My fear then was that unless the design of the building was low key and sympathetic to the surroundings it would distract, rather than add, to the visitor experience. I am not convinced that souvenirs and washrooms outweigh the importance of preserving the attraction of nature in the wild. And this goes for similar sites throughout the Caribbean.
  • Wendy (24/12/2016, 06:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Real Progress!



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