National Park Service seeks public input on Caneel Bay

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Contact: Nigel Fields, 340-776-6201 ext. 431

National Park Service seeks public input on Caneel Bay redevelopment options

ST. JOHN, U.S. Virgin Islands—The National Park Service (NPS) today released an initial set of

concepts that could guide the redevelopment of Caneel Bay at Virgin Islands National Park. The

public is invited to provide input on the concepts for 30 days beginning Jan. 18.

“We developed a preliminary range of options that prioritize the protection of resources and

expand public access to Caneel Bay,” said Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Nigel

Fields. “Civic engagement is an important part of the redevelopment process. We look forward to

receiving the public’s feedback as we work together to create the best possible future for Caneel

Bay.”

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 last fall. The goals

of the redevelopment plan are to ensure the preservation and protection of natural, cultural and

marine resources, provide for economic development opportunities through commercial

services, maximize operational efficiencies, and ensure compliance with law, regulation and

policy.

In line with these objectives, four preliminary redevelopment options are proposed for the public

to comment on, including:

– Alternative A— The NPS preliminary proposed action balances enhanced public

access, recreational opportunities, resource protection and park operational efficiency,

while re-establishing a world-class overnight experience at a luxury resort. Additionally,

the concept calls for a mid-range overnight experience at Hawksnest Beach separate from

the resort, and the NPS would provide space for an organization to design, fund,

construct, and operate a community destination, such as an amphitheater, museum or

cultural center.

— more —

– Alternative B offers a similar management approach to Alternative A, except the resort

area is expanded and a mid-range overnight experience and public access at Hawksnest

Beach is removed.

– Alternative C includes all resort zone elements identified in Alternative A, and the resort

zone is similar to that of the historic boundaries of the Caneel Bay RUE. No visitor

services would be provided at the site for non-resort guests, and the NPS would not

provide a community space at the Caneel Bay area.

– No-Action Alternative assumes sole management by the NPS upon expiration of the RUE

in 2023. The NPS would not issue any permit, lease or concession contract. The NPS

would minimally restore the site to allow for safe access by visitors through existing roads

and trails, including safe access to beaches.

Additional information about the proposed redevelopment options can be found at

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CaneelBayRedevelopment and will be discussed at the public

engagement meetings.

NPS will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. AST. Members of the

public can attend the virtual event or submit written comments by visiting

http://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

About Caneel Bay: Caneel Bay currently operates under a retained use estate (RUE), a unique

arrangement crafted by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1983, setting aside the 150-acre resort for

independent operation and management within Virgin Islands National Park without NPS

oversight. The NPS expects to assume full responsibility for the property when the RUE expires on

September 30, 2023. The resort was severely damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and

remains mostly closed. In addition to long being an economic driver on the island, Caneel Bay is also

an important cultural and historical site and the location of the 1733 Akwamu Slave Rebellion, one

of the first sustained revolts of enslaved people in the Americas. Current information about the NPS

redevelopment of Caneel Bay is available at https://www.nps.gov/viis/caneelbay.htm.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s

423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and

create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook,

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