The Friends’ Summer Trail Crew is an approximately 8-week program that provides a professional job opportunity to Virgin Island youth interested in conservation. The crew consists of 8 crew members ranging from 15 to 18 years old who spend the summer season performing trail maintenance projects under the supervision of the Friends’ Trails Coordinator.
The crew works on hiking trails throughout Virgin Islands National Park and is exposed to a wide range of new skills including erosion control techniques, dry stone masonry, carpentry, and rigging operations. The work accomplished by the trail crew is especially important because they are the only entity performing trail maintenance within the park during the summer season. It’s easy to envision the hiking trails quickly falling into disrepair without the efforts of the trail crew. For many participants this is their first paid job and within this team-oriented environment, they quickly learn the importance of effective communication, maintaining a positive attitude, and other valuable life skills.
In addition to trail maintenance, one of the goals of the Friends Trail Crew program is to help the participants gain an appreciation and passion for the natural world, conservation, and environmental stewardship. There are several recreation days scheduled into the program where crew members are given the opportunity to enjoy the national park in new ways. These recreation days include kayaking at Hansen Bay, hiking on Hassel Island with an NPS Ranger, and an educational boat trip with the NPS archaeologist.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park believes that the Summer Trail Crew Program provides a vital link between the National Park and the local community by providing an avenue in which area youth can engage in the park in a positive and meaningful way. It’s common for crew members to return for consecutive years.
The Friends Summer Trail Crew is made possible with the generous support of the Marisla Foundation.