Contact: Remar Sutton
Governor, Trustees of the British Virgin Islands National Parks, USA
Tel: 404-229-5094

Walter Cronkite, Anne Hearst, Peter Jennings, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Lt. Governor Rockefeller Highlight Unique Nature of British Virgin Islands (BVI) National Parks

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Monday, February 11, 2002…

The importance of preserving the British Virgin Islands’ unique and fragile national parks system, which comprises some of the world’s most ecologically diverse environments, is receiving greater global attention with help of a group of highly influential and environmentally aware Americans.

The conservation effort is being undertaken by the Trustees of the BVI National Parks Trust, USA, a philanthropic trust. The Trustees seek to raise important issues impacting the BVI’s national parks that comprise eleven percent of the land and marine area of the BVI. ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings, former CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Lt. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas, actor Cliff Robertson and editor George Plimpton are some of the well-known Americans serving as Governors on the Board of Trustees.

They, along with David Fanning, founder and executive producer of PBS Frontline, Remar Sutton, columnist for The Washington Post, and Lester Hyman, Washington, D.C.-based presidential advisor, are lending support for the parks and for the efforts to strengthen, expand and preserve them.

Other prominent Americans serving as Governors are Anne Randolph Hearst, granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst and contributing editor to Town and Country magazine; Lt. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and scion of a name synonymous with preserving the extraordinary nature of the British and American Virgin Islands; Emmy-Award-winning explorer Dan Buettner, a veteran of expeditions in over 100 countries; and Dr. Henry Jarecki, President of The Falconwood Corporation and owner of Guana Island, an exclusive 850-acre private nature preserve off the North Shore of Tortola.

Walter Cronkite, a Governor, avid yachtsman and frequent visitor to the territory for over thirty years, complimented the Government and Parks for their efforts to safeguard the BVI environment. “As one travels the rest of the world,” Cronkite said, “the appreciation is always greater for the efforts of the British Virgin Islands to maintain the difficult balance between necessary economic development and the great natural beauty bestowed on this territory.”

Peter Jennings commented, “It’s an honor to be included with those who love the BVI and wish to see it thrive. The wonderful people of the BVI understand they live in a unique environment worth protecting. We all know that the national parks need constant attention. They are being managed for the next generation and the next.”

Lt. Governor Rockefeller, whose uncle, Laurance Rockefeller founded Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, recently visited the BVI along with other Governors of the Trust and met with the Honorable Ralph T. O’Neal, the BVI’s Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism, and His Excellency, Governor Frank Savage, ppointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Territory, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Lt. Governor Rockefeller made an official address to key members of government at Long Bay Beach Resort on Tortola. “We do not inherit the earth from our parents, but borrow it from our children,” Rockefeller said, using a favorite American Indian quote. “Our Governors are here because we have been touched, even changed by these islands.” Mr. Rockefeller continued, “We are here because we love these islands and their citizens, because we have made friendships here that are worth having for life.”

In March Governors Jean-Michel Cousteau, George Plimpton and Cliff Robertson will visit the BVI. “One goal of our group,” says J.C. Pierce, President of the Trustees of the BVI National Parks Trust, “is to develop materials highlighting the unique nature and problems of the BVI Parks. We are also planning to develop a short documentary on the Parks using the great talent of our Governors.” Pierce, the great-grandson of Count Ferdinand DeLessups, has had a home in the British Virgin Islands for eighteen of his thirty-five years. The BVI National Parks Trust, based in Road Town, Tortola, has a preservation program consisting of five key project areas in biodiversity assessment and management, management of terrestrial parks, marine conservation program, historical preservation and public awareness, and environmental education.

For further information on the Trustees of the BVI National Parks, USA, Inc., please contact Remar Sutton at The BVI National Parks Trust, found on the Internet at, can be reached at 284-494-3904. Information on traveling to the BVI is available from the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board by calling 1-800-835-8530 or by visiting