News Release

NPS Seeks Public Comments on Caneel Bay Management Plan

The green forested hillsides of Turtle Point cut into the blue waters of Virgin Islands National Park underneath a partly cloudy sky.

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News Release Date: January 20, 2023

Contact: Superintendent Nigel Fields, 340-626-2806

ST. JOHN, U.S. Virgin Islands—The National Park Service (NPS) today released an Environmental Assessment for the Redevelopment and Management of Caneel Bay at Virgin Islands National Park. The public is invited to comment on the NPS preferred plan for 30 days beginning January 20, 2023.  The comment period will be extended for an additional 15-days upon a timely request. 

Public participation in the redevelopment of Caneel Bay has been tremendous and helpful in refining the future plan for Caneel,” said Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Nigel Fields. “The key elements of the environmental assessment are directly informed by the input we received and includes analysis of climate impacts, the historic district, Caneel’s floodplains and the desired visitor experience.  We remain committed to keeping the public informed and welcome feedback on the NPS’ preferred action plan during this comment period.” 

While the Caneel Bay retained use estate (RUE) will remain in place until its expiration on September 30, 2023, the NPS began planning for the Caneel Bay redevelopment in 2021. The goals of the redevelopment plan are to ensure the preservation and protection of Caneel’s natural and cultural features, provide for economic development opportunities through commercial services, maximize operational efficiencies, and ensure compliance with law, regulation and policy. The redevelopment and management will offer welcoming and equitable opportunities that promote access, visitation, employment, and use of local businesses at the Caneel Bay area to a diverse range of users.    In line with these objectives, two alternatives are presented for the public to comment on, including: 

  • Alternative A - No-Action Alternative upon expiration of the RUE on September 30, 2023, the NPS would assume management responsibility of the Caneel Bay area and would not issue any permit, lease, or concession contract to reestablish overnight use or provide resort-style services. Any existing Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) would be allowed to continue to operate at the Caneel Bay area until the expiration date noted on the existing permit. The NPS would minimally restore the site to allow for safe access by visitors through existing roads and trails, including safe access to beaches. The NPS would not provide visitor services, including overnight lodging at the Caneel Bay area beaches under the no-action alternative.    

  • Alternative B - The NPS preferred alternative aims to balance enhanced public access, recreational opportunities, resource protection, and park operational efficiency while reestablishing an overnight experience on a portion of the original RUE. Alternative B also identifies two potential locations for future community spaces where residents, overnight guests, and Park visitors could more directly experience the local culture of St. John and the USVI. 

Additional information about the proposed redevelopment options can be found at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CaneelBayRedevelopment and will be discussed at the public meetings.    NPS will hold a virtual public meeting on Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 6 p.m. AST. There will also be two in-person public meetings, the first at 5:30 pm on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at Gifft Hill School Atrium, and the second at 2 pm on Saturday, February 4, 2023, location TBD. Members of the public can check updates for meeting notices, attend the virtual event, and submit written comments by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CaneelBayRedevelopment   Written comments may also be hand-delivered or mailed to the park headquarters at:         Caneel Bay Redevelopment and Management Plan  c/o Superintendent Nigel Fields  1300 Cruz Bay Creek  St. John, VI 00830 



Last updated: January 20, 2023

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