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USDA Forestry Grant Awarded

The Virgin Islands Trail Alliance (VITAL) is pleased to announce that they have been
awarded a four-year grant through the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community
Forestry Grant under the Inflation Reduction Act

This is a reimbursement type grant totaling $2.5M and will fund VITAL’S project “Healing
Forests to Heal the Underserved for Life” to provide underserved communities with access
to revitalized urban forests in St. Croix USVI by creating trails and planting trees, primarily
in watershed gut areas.

Planning will identify guts that flow through neighborhoods. Onsite meetings will
stimulate community engagement. Workdays will encourage efforts to remove invasive
species, and plant native species and fruit trees. Project signage will share local history and
culture, tree species, and their medicinal uses. Benches and tables will provide rest areas
in nature and build pride in community. Healthy forests will provide health benefits for the
community and provide tools for resiliency to face daily and future environmental stresses.
Also, local citizens will be employed through the grant.

VP Alma Winkfield states that “This grant is not just an investment in trails, it’s an
investment in the well-being of our entire community. Over the next four years VITAL will
expand its workforce, engage neighborhoods, and design pathways that lead to healthier,
happier lives.” President Aaron Hutchins is pleased that this grant “Will provide better
access for all to improved and enhanced outdoor recreational spaces on St. Croix, and be
available for public use.”

The VI Trail Alliance is thrilled to know that the St. George Village Botanical Garden has
also received this once in a lifetime Federal support to enhance our green spaces and
community resiliency. VITAL hopes to partner with the Garden as their grant will provide
tree species that could be planted in the areas identified by VITAL.

VITAL wishes to thank Diana Collingwood at the VI Department of Agriculture, Professor
Olasee Davis, AARP in the VI, Community Foundation of the VI, the The STX Hiking
Association, NPS, and our wonderful contributors and volunteers for their ongoing support
of the VI Trail Alliance’s work, as well as the Biden/Harris Administration for their
commitment to the health and well being of our nation.

Alma Winkfield’s enthusiasm is contagious when she says “We will use this grant to pave
the way for a healthier, more resilient future. We will remove invasive species, nurture
native beauty, and provide access to the therapeutic embrace of our forests.”

For more information on the project please contact:

Alma Winkfield: or Barbara Walsh:
For more information on VITAL please check our website:

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