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The Nature Conservancy and the St. Croix Environmental Association have entered a long-term agreement that officials say is a step toward establishing an actively managed nature preserve on the island. The Irene L. Armstrong Trust gave The Nature Conservancy the 16.3-acre parcel, the Irene Lowe Armstrong Nature Preserve, in Hermon Hill in 1995. The land has been held as a conservation easement since that time.

The new agreement provides for the Conservancy and Association to cooperate in managing the land and developing interpretive trails and conservation and education programs for the public. The Environmental Association also announced that it has purchased a three-quarter acre lot surrounded on three sides by the preserve to build an environmental education center and its administrative offices.

The location of the preserve, along the VITRAN route, will provide easy access for the public once educational programs and trails are in place.