The newly developed St. Croix Heritage Trail was officially named one of the 50 National Millennium Legacy Trails in a recent White House ceremony.

Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who submitted the trail as the Virgin Islands' nomination, announced the designation Tuesday. The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a 72-mile-long driving tour of historic sites on the island. Stops include architectural ruins of the 18th and 19th centuries, remnants of the once-bustling sugar industry, and Point Udall, the easternmost point under the American flag.

"This designation will greatly benefit St. Croix's heritage tourism initiative since a significant amount of national and international marketing of these trails as tourism destinations will be undertaken by the White House Millennium Council," Turnbull said.

The Millennium Legacy Trails project is funded with a $520,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. The 50 trails are in 47 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rodney Slater, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, named the sites late in October. The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a public-private sector partnership of Tourism, the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce and the St. Croix Landmarks Society. "A number of private sector contributions have enabled us to move forward with the design and fabrication of road signs and the development of a trail brochure with map," said coordinator Nancy Buckingham. Those should be in place by the end of the year.

The next phase of the project "will include pullovers, overlooks, interpretive signage, educational materials, training and economic opportunities seminars," she said.