The Virgin Islands National Park Service issued a release on June 3 that gets us a bit closer to that new normal we are all dreaming of.
Today, June 6, the NPS reopens the park-maintained facilities at the following locations:
- Trunk Bay – Restrooms and Showers – Entry fees remain waived for the meantime
- Hawksnest Bay- Restrooms and Changing Rooms
- Restrooms and/or Porta Johns at Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, Francis Bay, Salt Pond Bay, Lameshur and Annaberg.
Although, the concessions at Trunk and Cinnamon remain closed, all park waters, beaches and trails are OPEN. The park resumes trash pick-up today as well and replaced the garbage receptacles on the beaches earlier this week. As always, however, pack-in, pack-out is highly encouraged as the collection areas are not designed for high volume use.
On April 6, the VI government closed the territory owned beaches and the NPS followed their lead almost immediately. The beaches and trails were re-opened on April 20, but the above facilities, as well as the picnic pavilions, remained closed. The picnic areas are not mentioned in the NPS release from June 3.
A little factoid for those of you who don’t know (I know, many do, but bear with me): The majority of the St. John beaches are operated and maintained by the National Park Service. BUT, the majority of the beaches and trails on the other Virgin Islands are owned by the territory. A lot of people were confused when the Department of Parks and Natural Resources (DPNR) released their beach water testing results and none of the popular STJ beaches were listed (They tested Oppenheimer, Cruz Bay, Frank Bay, Great Cruz Bay and Johnson Bay). Follow Friends of the VI National Park and Virgin Islands National Park to stay up to date on St. John specific beach info and water testing results!
The Cruz Bay Visitor center also closed its doors in April and will remain closed for the time being with “public and employee health in mind.”
Social distancing and face coverings are still highly encouraged and hand sanitizer in your beach bag is never a bad idea!
“We have felt the love from local residents who have kept park beaches, trails and public spaces safe and clean over the past two months,” says Nigel Fields, park superintendent. “Now as the USVI begins to open the doors to broader tourism, we want everyone to remain safe while enjoying the park’s many resources.”
I hope you all have a GREAT weekend! Thank you for all of the positive feedback and support this week. Jenn’s are definitely a big pair of flip-flops to fill and there’s a lot to learn in the process. —Speaking of Jenn, you’ll be hearing from her tomorrow!