Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations
A new visitor centre was officially opened yesterday December 22 at the Sage Mountain National Park.
The project was co-founded by the National Parks Trust and the European Commission. Work commenced on the initiative on November 26, 2010 with funding from the European Commission.
The completion of the project was spearheaded by the National Parks Trust, in partnership with the Turks and Caicos National Trust, Cayman Islands National Trust and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum titled: Management of Protected Areas to Support Sustainable Economies from the 9th European Development Fund.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE described the occasion as an early Christmas present to every visitor to the park.
Premier Smith said, “For decades, Sage Mountain National Park has been the pride of this Territory, boasting not only the highest peak in the Territory at 1,716 feet, but it has always been a place for adventure whether it be leisure, tourism and for learning about our natural environment and eco-system.”
Friday, December 23,
The Premier added, “I want to encourage all of us to take care of visitor centre and to patronise it as it was built with the needs of the people in mind. My Government firmly believes that the natural environment is the Territory’s second most valuable asset coming only after our people.”
Premier Smith also thanked the EU for its contribution to the project stating that the Territory has a deepened and beneficial relationship with European Union Institutions.
He stated that the Territory and the EU have partnered on the completion of the Library, Auditorium and Culinary Art Centre at the H.L Stoutt Community College. The EU is currently funding the Caribbean Small and Medium Enterprise Project COSME, which is managed by the BVI to strengthen the Territory’s ability to support its small businesses. The Premier also added that the EU continues to provide technical assistance and support to the BVI on climate change, sustainable energy, and marine biodiversity which will assist Government in delivering its sustainable development agenda on less reliance on fossil fuels, driving sustainable tourism and adapting to extreme weather events.
Deputy Premier Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering said that these types of projects are necessary in order for the Territory to be able to offer the best tourism product.
Honourable Pickering said, “We need to continue to add value to our product, because we know that our tourism is based on our environment, an infinite resource which we must treat well in order for it to continue to serve us for a long time to come.”
The Sage Mountain Visitor Centre is one of three similar projects funded by the European Commission, with a grant of €560,000.00. It is part of the European Union’s Overseas Territories initiative geared towards fulfilling international environmental agreements and support for sustainable development. The two other projects the Iguana Headstart Facility located on Anegada, and the Copper Mine National Park on Virgin Gorda.
Photo No. 1 of the Visitor’s Centre- Credit given to Ms. Diedra Potter, Environmental Outreach Officer at the National Parks Trust
Photo No. 2 cutting of the Ribbon the person is Mr. Denville Hodge- Current Terrestrial Warden and son of the Late Joseph Hodge former Sage Mountain National Park Warden/Photo credits to GIS/ Skerrit Franklyn
Photo No 3 Opening of Centre/ Credit goes to GIS/ Skerrit Franklyn