National Park Service premieres film about Buck Island tonight


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ST. CROIX - The National Park Service will premiere its new 10-minute film about Buck Island Reef National Monument tonight during its monthly lecture series.

The film, the first produced about any of the National Park Service sites on St. Croix, is titled "Caribbean Gem: Buck Island Reef National Monument," said David Goldstein, chief of interpretation and education for the National Park Service sites on St. Croix.

The film "highlights the successes of the resource protection program that President Kennedy put into effect in 1961," Goldstein said. It includes "some terrific shots and views of what people can experience when they go out to Buck Island," he said.

The film also includes appearances by National Park Superintendent Joel Tutein, Chief of Resource Management Zandy Hillis-Starr, students from St. Croix Central High School visiting the underwater snorkel trail and Captain Llewellyn Westerman of Llewellyn's Charters, who has been sailing to Buck Island for years, Goldstein said.

But the star of the film is Buck Island and the surrounding waters that comprise the National Monument, as well as the marine life and wildlife that live there.

"It's a local view of what a world-renowned resource protection program is all about," Goldstein said. "It's a personal view of what you would see when you go out there and why those things we do out there are so important."

The film was made over the course of last year in celebration of Buck Island Reef National Monument's 50th anniversary.

The park orientation film "highlights the park's primary resources and the recreational opportunities that the monument provides our on-island and off-island visitors," a statement issued by the National Park Service said.

This is the first showing of the film for the general public.

The plan is to distribute the film to a variety of tourism and promotional venues on and off island in the coming months.

Tonight, the film will be shown a couple of times, and the National Park Service will be taking comments from the public about how and where they think the film should be shown.

"At the same time, we hope that the film will renew support for the park as we move ahead into the next decades of management for the park," the release said.

Goldstein said Wednesday that during tonight's discussion, the National Park Service may also present some brief information on the current status of its proposed new management plan for Buck Island.

The issue of Buck Island's new management plan sparked some controversy during a public comment period two years ago.

Since then the proposed plan has been going through the process the National Park Service requires, Goldstein said. It is still in that process.

Tonight's presentation will likely include "a brief look at some of the edits we made based on public input" on the management plan proposal, he said.

The screening and lecture are scheduled to last from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. today in the Danish Guinea West India Company Warehouse/Slave Market Building. The Christiansted National Historic Site parking lot will be open, with free parking, until 7 p.m. for this event.

- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email jblackburn@dailynews.vi.

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