Salt River Bay’s Exhibit. The exhibit Pieces of the Past - The Human Story of Ancient St. Croix will reopen to the public in the second floor exhibit space of Fort Christiansvaern (Commandant’s Quarter). It will be available to visitors from Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.
Hurricane Maria damaged the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve’s (NHP&EP) Visitor Contact Station. Our Park Volunteers (VIP’s) will interpret the Salt River Bay NHP&EP Exhibit from this new location inside Fort Christiansvaern at Christiansted National Historic Site. Our visitors will continue to enjoy the importance of this National Park unit. Tours will be led by our VIP’s throughout the week.
Free Gut Christiansted Walking Tour. This neighborhood was established at the onset of Danish Colonial rule on St. Croix as a place where frikulorte, ’free colored,’ could own property and live. The presenter will discuss the developments that made this neighborhood an incubator for social, political, and economic change in Christiansted, the Virgin Islands, and the Americas from 1747. Tours will be led by Assuring the Bonds of Legacy- Celeste Fahie on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Christiansted NHS Walking Tour. From the Sugar Plantation to Christiansted. Tours will be led by Ranger Benito Vegas. Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-11:00 AM
Buck Island Reef NM Beach Clean-up. Concessionaries, park volunteers, and University of the Virgin Islands students. Group size is limited and pre-registration is required. Please contact the NPS at 340-773-1460 extension 230 to obtain the details on this community pride project. Pre-register at Caribbean Sea Adventures 340-773-2628 (limit 26 passengers) or Big Beard’s Adventure Tours at 340-773-4482 (limit 30 passengers). Thursday, April 26, 2018 9 AM to NOON.
Jazz in the Park hosted by Community Music, Inc., will be on Friday, April 27, 2018 5:30 PM-7:30 PM. An impressive roster of local and international jazz musicians including the talented Eddie Russell and his jazz band will be open to everyone. The Fort Parking Lot will be open until 8:00 PM.
We are celebrating National Park Week from April 21 to April 29, 2018. The theme for National Park Week in 2018 is “Park Stars,” celebrating everything from starry skies to superstar volunteers, park features, and resources. Parks, programs, and partners nationwide invite people everywhere to explore stories, experiences, and sites that brighten the National Park System and public lands. Christiansted National Historic Site will be celebrating this week with several exciting programs.
Buck Island Reef National Monument - Resource Management Activities, March 2018
March 14 2018 The National Park Service (NPS) will be conducting a variety of resource management activities in the month of March. Below is a brief synopsis of the field projects that are currently underway and/or scheduled.
March 5–16: The NPS Resource Management Division will be working with our partners from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct in-water snorkel surveys for juvenile sea turtles at Buck Island Reef NM. Please be advised that researchers may be snorkeling in areas with routine boat traffic such as the areas near the Underwater Trail lagoon entrance and off West Beach anchoring area. Field surveys will be focused in areas to the south of the island near the lagoon channel markers but may include other areas within the Monument such as the patch reefs to the north of the island, and may extend outward to the East End Marine Park. The snorkeling researchers will carry dive flags to identify themselves to vessels in the areas. NPS boat will be in close proximity of the snorkelers maintaining continuous watch over their location and safety. Researchers and NPS staff may utilize either of the NPS vessels, CaraCara (Aluminum 26 ft Catamaran) or Kestrel (25 ft Boston Whaler), to conduct the study. Activities will be conducted during the day from sunrise until sunset.
March 12–16: The NPS Resource Management Division will be working with our partners from the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to conduct abundance and occupancy monitoring surveys of the St. Croix Ground Lizard (Ameiva polops). Please be advised that researchers may be conducting surveys across the entire the island in a variety of habitats. Activities will be conducted during the day, sunrise to sunset, with much of the monitoring being conducted during periods of peak ground lizard activity (10am to 2pm).
These surveys continue our long term monitoring of the St. Croix Ground Lizard population since their translocation to the island in 2008.
March 12–23: The NPS Resource Management Division will be working with our partners from the South Florida and Caribbean Network (SFCN) Inventory and Monitoring group to conduct surveys at long term coral monitoring sites in Salt River Historical Bay and Ecological Preserve. In addition, the team will also be conducting post hurricane assessments at select sites within Buck Island Reef National Monument to quantify changes in benthic habitat and fish community composition, as well as identifying potential locations for coral restoration activities.
March 19–30:The NPS Resource Management Division will be working with our partners from NOAA to collect data that will be used to generate 2D seafloor mosaics and 3D depth surfaces in shallow-water (<5m) environments using small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or more commonly referred to as drones. These activities will be conducted during daylight hours, within 500 meters distance of the pilot-in-charge (PIC), and within line-of-sight of the PIC. The UAS will be launched and recovered on the beach areas near the study sites off of West Beach. The study will be conducted during the early morning hours prior to the arrival of most concessionaire vessels and/or in the late afternoon when most visitors have left the island. This mission complies with Department of Interior Aviation policy and the UAS operator understands that operations will be conducted in accordance with the approved Project Aviation Safety Plan (PASP).
If you would like additional information about these studies, please contact: Clayton Pollock, NPS Biologist Ph 340-773-1460 x 238; e-mail us
The National Park Service thanks all of our community members and friends for 52 years of support for Buck Island Reef National Monument, and we look forward to an exciting year of events celebrating our unique resource.
Post-Hurricane Maria NPS Christiansted NHS, Buck Island Reef NM, and Salt River Bay NHP&EP Recovery Updates
October 5, 2018 Christiansted National Historic Site (CHRI), Buck Island Reef National Monument (BUIS), and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve (NHP&EP; SARI) remain under Incident Command managed by Eastern Incident Management Team out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. CHRI, BUIS, and SARI sustained damage from Hurricane Maria, mainly in the form of downed trees, loss of power, structural and building damage, shoreline erosion, and storm-washed debris. As of October 5th, Christiansted NHS (CHRI) remains to public while park conducts cleanup and building repairs, and the Government of the Virgin Islands works to restore power to Christiansted town. FEMA is currently operating the Disaster Relief Assistance Program in NPS Danish West India and Guinea Company Warehouse (Old Post Office Building) first floor from 12:00 to 5:00 (17:00) pm. The parking lot will remain closed.
The Salt River Bay NHP&EP Visitor Contact Station was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria and will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.
Buck Island Reef National Monument sustained substantial damage to shoreline, vegetation and coral reef areas. All park facilities at Buck Island Reef NM above the high water mark are closed, including a 100 foot long cement pier on south side and the underwater trail area. Any visitors that enter Buck Island Reef NM do so at their own risk.
CAUTION: All Buck Island Reef NM private NPS aids-to-navigation, regulatory, boundary, information buoys are not on station and should not be used for navigation. The NPS is in process of re-establishing and correcting buoys. NPS Law Enforcement patrols are underway.
September 18, 2017 Christiansted National Historic Site has initiated the emergency response plan for the three National Park units on St. Croix, including Buck Island Reef National Monument and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. Hurricane Maria will pass south of St. Croix Tuesday evening into Wednesday. In the interest of employee safety the parks will finalize these plans and shut down later today (Monday September 18 2017). The parks, facilities, and Concessioner operations will be closed Tuesday September 19 until further notice. The park will continue to monitor this system closely and will make decisions about park facilities on Thursday (September 21) or Friday (September 22). Once Hurricane Maria passes NPS staff will assess any damages and determine when the parks can be safely opened. Law enforcement will be on duty providing coverage during the normal operation period.
September 5, 2017 Christiansted National Historic Site has begun shut down procedures for the three National Park units on St. Croix, including Buck Island Reef National Monument and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, for today, September 5, 2017. The parks are closed today, and will remain closed until further notice. All facility and Concessioner operations will remain closed until further notice. Once Hurricane Irma passes NPS staff will assess any damages and determine when the parks can be safely opened.
Christiansted National Historic Site, located at the waterfront of Christiansted, St. Croix, is comprised of five historic buildings constructed between 1740 and 1835, which served as the center of power and government for the Danish West Indies throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The park is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The entrance fee for Christiansted National Historic Site is $3 for adults, and children under the age of 16 are free.
Buck Island Reef National Monument - Parrotfish Coral Grazing Study
July 5, 2017 Buck Island Reef National Monument is pleased to announce the beginning of partnership research project. Throughout July and August, biologists from California Polytechnic State University, in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands, will be studying grazing scars on live coral tissues at several locations around Buck Island, including the South Forereef and the lagoon, and at several other study locations around St. Croix (Long Reef, Cane Bay, Carambola, and Teague Bay). The research team, led by California Polytechnic State University – Department of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Ben Ruttenberg and graduate student Madelyn Roycroft, will perform coral surveys, benthic photoquadrat surveys, and characterize coral colonies and benthic habitat surrounding coral colonies with grazing scars. The team will count and estimate the sizes of parrotfish, and record the habitat types encountered. The study will provide insight into the rates of parrotfish corallivory, or consumption and eating of coral, and compare these rates between Buck Island and the other study sites. This data may also provide evidence for the kinds of factors driving coral consumption at these locations.
The National Park Service thanks all of our community members and friends for 52 years of support for Buck Island Reef NM and we look forward to an exciting year of events celebrating our unique resource.