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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Virgin Islands Ecotours offers an up-close look at the sea creatures living in the mangrove lagoon on St. Thomas' East End. The area is a marine sanctuary. But it's also an eyesore.
Before reaching the pristine waters, visitors must first propel their sea kayak through an area littered with sunken vessels and debris.
Now the lagoon area has been targeted for revitalization by a group of concerned businessmen. A non-profit organization, Mangrove Lagoon Waterway Village and Eco Preserve, has been formed to save the region.
Jimmy Loveland, a spokesman for the group, said, "We must save this estuary for future generations to enjoy. This is a sensitive area and it must be cleaned up before permanent damage is done."
The group has put a plan into place and will host a high profile promotion designed to raise needed funds, draw visitors and stimulate the economy in that area.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6 p.m. to Midnight, patrons can park in any number of designated areas and ride a ferry to the restaurant or pub of their choice. One of the main parking areas is Compass Point Marina, one of five designated ferry stops.
The $5 ferry charge is good for the entire evening and includes two complimentary Cruzan Rum drinks. Cuisine along the ferry route includes American, Cuban, Japanese, Caribbean, German and more. Restaurants already committed are Raffles and Hemingways at Compass Point, Bottoms Up, Ernie's, Schnitzel Haus, Sushi by Sato and Sea Side Inn.
Premier Wine & Spirits is also a participating sponsor.
"This waterway village can be an asset to the community," said Loveland, "Our attention and energies are directed toward making this a safe area in which to work, play and do business, particularly in the evening hours."
Loveland said a revitalization of this district will create economic benefits that are not now available.
It will encourage merchants to extend evening business hours, thereby creating jobs for the community and promoting a sense of pride in an area not frequented by tourists and residents after dark. Incentives offered by merchants and restaurants in the area will be designed to draw residents and visitors alike and encourage them to spend their money on an enjoyable evening of dining and entertainment offered in that area.
"And while we'll be raising funds to clean up the lagoon while passengers on the ferry will have a first hand look at the area they are helping to save, " Loveland said.
Ongoing promotions and events must include outreach and support from the business community. Participating members of the Mangrove Lagoon Waterway Village and Eco Preserve feel that if business takes the initiative, the community will be more receptive to new ideas.
According to Loveland, "This promotional event is expected to draw residents, visitors and families to share our cultural gifts and the beauty of our islands."
It's an excellent opportunity to showcase the multi-ethnic population of our island. "We are committed to being a vital part of the revitalization of the mangrove lagoons and we encourage everyone to show their support by attending these special events," Loveland concluded.
For information on how you can help call 775-9500.

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