VINP Superintendent Mark Hardgrove and volunteer Jeff Chabot at the new Lind Point trailhead stairway.
A new wooden stairway at the trailhead to the Lind Point Trail has been attracting a lot of traffic and has garnered a popular nickname.
“We are calling it ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” said V.I. National Park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove. “And it really does lead to some of the most beautiful beaches.”
The stairway was constructed after VINP officials discovered that the previous trail up the hillside in the rear of the Visitors’ Center parking lot was actually on private property, explained Friends of VINP volunteer coordinator Jeff Chabot, who built the staircase.
“It actually started about three years ago when the park discovered that the land here was private property,” said Chabot. “The old trail scrambled up the hillside to the road above and went through private property.”
The property owners granted the VINP an easement across their land and paid for the materials used in construction of the staircase, Chabot explained.
“They gave us an easement and they also indicated that they would fund it as far as materials,” he said.
Chabot drew a few rough sketches and enlisted the help of a Sierra Club group of volunteers to dig holes for the footings and lay out the preliminary stakes for the stairwell.
“I had 15 people here digging footings and laying out stringers,” said Chabot.
Another group of volunteers then helped mix and pour cement for the footings.
“We had 15 ladies out here mixing the cement in buckets and pouring the footings and the platform,” said Chabot.
The Friends volunteer coordinator then took care of the rest, completing the staircase in about 190 hours.
“I spent all of my free time here working on it until we got it done,” Chabot said.
The 32 stairs at the head of Lind Point trail now welcome a steady stream of hikers and stand testament to the power of private and public partnerships, explained Hardgrove.
“The landowners wanted to be a partner with the park and together we were able to improve access to the trail for our visitors,” said the VINP superintendent.