The Ministry of Tourism and the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation held the 2017 Enviro-Walk under the theme- “Walk into history, walk for a sustainable future” on June 10th at the newly developed “Rails to Trails Demonstration Trail” at Trinity Parish and Bloody River. The walk focused on promoting sustainable and community based tourism, bringing public attention to the Rail to Trails Project and inspiring awareness of historical sites and environment preservation.
The walk started at Ross University, entered the demonstration trail at Trinity Anglican Church and ended at the Petroglyphs inside Bloody River. Local award-winning guide, Mr. Leonard Stapleton, partnered with the organizers as a walk guide, and
provided many historical details during the walk. At the end of the walk, fresh fruits and beverages sponsored by the Embassy of ROC (Taiwan) and Eco-Park were served at Challengers community basketball court where a community group also held a fund-raising breakfast. With the support of over 90 participants, including children from the tourism education program at Dr. William Connor Primary school, over $1,800EC was raised to support community based sustainability projects. A raffle was held with approximately $2,000EC in prizes sponsored by local businesses including Ocean Terrace Inn, Dolphin Discovery, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, Sunlinc, Kantours, and TDC Ltd.
The Enviro-Walk project was developed by an ICDF volunteer in March 2017 based on her experience participating in community tourism projects and the development of the Rails to Trails Project at the Ministry of Tourism. Every Kittitian is aware that St. Kitts is surrounded by the sugar rails, a legacy of the history of sugar production. When asked about the inspiration for such a project, the volunteer said, “How much history and how many stories about this country are hidden along the western abandoned rails? History must be passed, stories must be told”. While visiting during the construction of the demonstrating trail, the idea was conceived to bring locals and visitors to walk on the old rails to pass on the historical legacy. The vision is to then to promote the Rails to Trails Project as a unique attraction which only can be experienced in St. Kitts. With the support of the neighbouring communities, the project can also strengthen community awareness and increase local interest in environmental conservation.
The 2017 Enviro-Walk was a big success, but the walk towards sustainability is never completed. As a part of the Ministry’s sustainable tourism projects, all pre-registered participants of Enviro-Walk will receive an eco-friendly souvenir bag to encourage their participation in the upcoming “Plastic Free July” campaign. Please follow the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation Facebook page, as we continue the walk towards a more sustainable St. Kitts.