Getting to Jumbie Beach is now a whole lot safer thanks to V.I. National Park Volunteer Coordinator Jeff Chabot and his crew, who cut a new trail last week from the North Shore Road adjacent to the Jumbie parking area all the way down to the beach.
Previous access required beachgoers to park on the south side of North Shore Road, cross the street and then and walk along the road to the steps leading down to the beach. The new trail head is now directly across the street from the Jumbie parking area, and offers a slope gentle enough for even strollers to traverse.
Jumbie was identified by the VINP’s Safety Committee as an area that needed attention, explained committee chairperson Christy McManus.
“We organized the safety committee last year and evaluated all the visitor sites in the park for safety hazards and potential problems and solution,” said McManus. “It was just very obvious going down there that walking from the parking lot to the stairs, where traffic travels so fast, was just so extremely dangerous.”
Chabot and his crew of volunteers were out in full force last week cutting the new trail. Only noninvasive species were removed from the area, and volunteers carried dirt and rock fill down by hand to ensure a gentle slope.
The old stairs leading down to Jumbie will eventually be removed, and while the new trail is not yet marked, it’s “very obvious,” according to McManus. A rock wall lines the entire length of the trail.
“This was a real natural solution to make the beach safer and more accessible,” she said. “The volunteers worked so hard, surpassing anything I had imagined. I was just really blown away.”
The Safety Committee continues to keep the VINP safe for visitors by keeping up with maintenance and ensuring good visibility on roadways by cutting back vegetation.