After 16 long days, the government shutdown has finally ended. As many of you may know, St. John received an early reprieve on October 7 when it learned it could reopen its beaches, as well as the trails that lead to the beaches. But despite that reprieve, parts of St. John continued to be affected. Now we can fully get back to business.
We’re pleased to report that the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor’s Center was open Thursday morning and the staff members were very happy to be back to work. Annaberg remained closed as of late morning but that too has been given the go ahead to reopen, as will the remaining trails and facilities throughout the National Park.
Speaking of trails, the ranger-led Reef Bay Hike will resume on Monday. While the trail was reopened October 7, rangers were not allowed to lead the hikes during the shutdown. This not only affected hikers, but it also negatively impacted the Sadie Sea, the vessel that picks up guests from the guided hike and returns them to Cruz Bay.
So along the lines of National Park news, we’d like to mention one of the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park very cool, upcoming events – Paddle in the Park.
Paddle in the Park is a standup paddleboard race that take place on Sunday, November 3. There will be two courses. The Open Course will be a roughly three-mile race from Maho Beach to Whistling Cay and back. The Elite Course will also begin at Maho Beach and will head out to Whistling Cay, then to and around Cinnamon Cay, back behind Whistling Cay and then back to Maho Beach. The Elite Course is approximately 5.5 miles.
The cost to register is $60 for adults and $30 for those ages 18 years and under. The cutoff date for these prices is November 1. A late registration option will be available on November 2 at the Friends of the Park Store until 2 p.m. The cost that day will be $80 for adults and $50 for people ages 18 and under.
Click here to learn more about the race and for information on how to register.