National Geographic warning for St. John

Traveler
St. John
is a wonderful place for vacationing. Will it stay that way? 

The chances are good it can, according a survey of experts in
"sustainable tourism and destination stewardship" to rank islands
around the world by National Geographic Traveler.  But there is uncertainty about whether St. John will retain its charm. 

"Best in the Caribbean," said survey participants who evaluated St. John.  (Not all members of the panel reviewed each island.)

"The national park has saved this virgin from being tired like St.
Thomas,"  they continued. "There’s almost no trash along the roads, you
can hike for a couple of miles without coming across structures, and
there are fabulous bays reachable only on foot (or boat); snorkeling is
outstanding."

But other comments about St. John warned, "One-third of the island is not park and is under siege with
over-scaled villas. Cruz Bay is losing its ramshackle charm to newer buildings containing shopping malls and real estate developers. Traffic is congested."

Included among the people who offered opinions about St. John and other islands were Rafe Boulon, the Park’s chief of environmental resources, and Randy Brown, the V.I. Environmental Resource Station’s administrator.  Boulon told the St. John Source he was asked to participate in the survey by e-mail.

The magazine ranked 111 islands and archipelagos and ranked them
according to the danger they face from "tourism overkill."  Denmark’s Faroe Islands
were rated at the top of the list with a score of 87, which the
magazine said means they are "Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to
remain so."  St. John scored a 70, indicating "minor difficulties."

St. Thomas had a score of 37 and was at the absolute bottom
of the list.  Comments:  "A mess—too many cruise ships disgorging their
passengers into the small town. Totally spoiled and low-quality,
high-volume destination. The main town is essentially one big, ugly
jewelry store, but the island is nice outside of the main town."

The Traveler article can be read at  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/features/islandsrated0711/islands.html

2 thoughts on “National Geographic warning for St. John”

  1. As long as the national park is present for protection on St John, the beaches will remain beautiful. It is up to the visitors and locals to maintain respect for the cleanliness of the park and up to the locals and the government to maintain the desirability of sweet little St John, from traffic, and the construction to attitude… The downtown area could be greatly improved upon with sensible planning to keep the charm alive..Being a frequent visitor to the island, I am appalled at the long time derelict, half built structure that is occupied by trucks right in the center of town.. The support wires in stone columns are stuck up in the air now for years. It should not be allowed!. We should all have enough pride to keep Cruz bay as clean and attractive as the beaches of the park.
    All of us working together will protect and keep St John the most desirable island in the Carribean and not only just for the beaches but for the pride of the people to make it shine like a jewel….

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