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SCOPING INPUT SUMMARIZED IN QUESTION FORMAT

The National Park Service in its April Project News report summarizes the information collected over the last four months at open houses, workshops and other forums and via completed questionnaires on the vessel management and commercial services plans to be developed for longterm implementation in the V.I. National Park. All of this data gathering is part of what the NPS calls the "scoping process" for the plans.
Nearly 200 people took part in the four open houses, and about the same number participated in presentations or workshops, the report says, and about 65 completed questionnaires were received.
The objective was "to determine the scope of the analysis to be conducted in preparing the vessel management and commercial services plans and their accompanying environmental assessments." Based on the input received, the NPS has created a list of "scoping issues" for each plan, stated as questions the plans should address.
For each plan, a scoping report summarizes the scoping process and identifies issues to be addressed in the plan, issues that are beyond the plan's scope, and significant issues for which a range of alternative management strategies will be developed.
Public and agency comments "identified a wide range of issues to address in the two plans," the report says. The NPS is required to focus its analysis and documentation on the "significant issues" that represent key options for decision-making and serve as the basis for developing and comparing alternative management strategies.
"While the plans will focus on these significant issues, all issues identified through scoping will be addressed," the report says. One example would be how park management of marine resources compares with that in other locations with similar resources. Another would be the effects of the recently installed moorings on boating use patterns. Alternatives to be analyzed will include implementation issues such as improvements in enforcement and education, and ongoing monitoring needs. Following are questions addressing the "significant issues" identified for each plan.
VESSEL MANAGEMENT PLAN
The Vessel Management Plan will provide long-term management direction for the use of park waters by all types of vessels. Comments received during the scoping process addressed 15 topic areas. The following 26 significant issues will serve as the basis for developing and comparing alternatives.
Appropriate Uses Within Park Waters:
1. Should ferries and commercial vessels passing through park waters to destinations elsewhere be diverted outside park waters for safety, environmental and other reasons?
2. Should loud, high-speed boats (e.g., cigarette boats) be barred from park waters?
3. Should mini-cruise ships (125 to 210 feet in length) be barred from park waters?
4. Is the anchoring/mooring of large cruise ship passenger transport vessels appropriate within park waters?
Carrying Capacity Limitations:
5. Are limitations on specific uses or on access to specific bays and beaches needed to protect park resources and ensure a quality recreational experience?
Anchoring and Mooring:
6. Should additional anchorless areas be designated?
7. Should specific anchoring areas be designated?
8. Should additional moorings, including those reserved for vessels 60 to 75 feet in length, and a hurricane mooring in Mary's Creek be provided?
9. Should moorings be removed to provide additional anchoring opportunities?
10. Does the current location of moorings provide sufficient and convenient access for swimming/snorkeling uses? Should anchoring near or on beaches be accommodated, particularly by commercial multi-passenger vessels?
11. Is it appropriate to authorize the installation and maintenance of moorings by private parties?
12. Should moorings be reserved for commercial day use and commercial overnight operators?
Beach Access and Use:
13. What is appropriate in terms of dinghy access to beaches?
14. Should concessionaires be required to install and maintain dinghy tethers or docks at Caneel Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Little Maho Bay?
15. Should dinghy tethers be installed at popular snorkeling/swimming sites (e.g., Honeymoon Beach and Little Cinnamon Bay)?
Fee Program/Commercial Use Authorizations:
16. What is a reasonable and equitable fee program for usage of park waters that reflects different size vessels and types of uses, day use versus overnight use, and anchoring versus mooring?
17. What is the program for fee collection?
18. What types of providers of commercial services for park visitors should be required to obtain commercial use authorizations to operate within park waters?
Boating Facilities and Services:
19. What additional dock space in Cruz Bay should the NPS provide for dinghies and larger vessels? For what time frame should dock space be made available?
20. What is the future of the Red Hook dock site?
21. Should the NPS provide pump-out facilities? What are the requirements for the use, operations, locations and financing of pump-out facilities, if provided?
Use Regulations:
22. Should appropriate speed limits and/or no wake zones be established in all anchorages and swimming areas?
23. Should a maximum speed limit be instituted throughout park waters?
24. Should the use of multiple spotlights to attract baitfish or the use of halogen lights be regulated?
Hassel Island:
25. What docking and other visitor facilities are needed?
26. Are limitations on commercial use authorizations needed?
COMMERCIAL SERVICES PLAN
The Commercial Services Plan will determine what types and levels of commercial services are necessary and appropriate within the park and the most effective and efficient way to deliver and manage those services. Through scoping, eight significant issues were identified for use in developing and comparing alternatives.
Carrying Capacity Limitations:
1. What limitations should be placed on commercial use authorizations to protect park resources and ensure a quality recreational experience?
2. What areas should be designated as venues for group tours?
Existing Commercial Services:
3. Should the existing single concession for Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay be split into separate concessions?
4. Should the existing watersports operations at Caneel, Trunk, Cinnamon and Little Maho bays be separate concessions?
New Commercial Services:
5. What new and/or expanded commercial services are needed to ensure a quality visitor experience?
6. What types of small business opportunities for Virgin Islanders should be provided?
Transportation Services:
7. Should the park enter into a concession agreement for the provision of transportation services, with specific provisions for service levels, parking, use of pullouts, dispatch, etc.?
Commercial Use Authorizations:
8. What types of service providers for park visitors should be required to obtain commercial use authorizations to operate within the park?
The NPS is soliciting comment now from two perspectives with regard to the significant issues identified here: (1) Are these the right issues to assess in the two plans? (2) Are there any additional issues that should be considered? "Comments will be most useful if received by May 3," the report states.
Over the next few weeks, a range of alternative management strategies will be developed to address the identified significant issues. Public input will then be sought on whether these alternatives represent an appropriate range of alternatives to analyze in detail in the plans. The NPS expects to disseminate a "Proposed Range of Alternatives" report by the end of April. The two draft management plan and environmental assessments are to be completed by mid-June. "A wide array of public review opportunities will be provided in conjunction with the release of these docume
nts," the report says, with adoption of final plans to come in late July.
Mooring installation completed
As a result of funding obtained by the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, the installation of 175 new moorings, retrofitting of 26 existing moorings, and replacement of 13 existing commercial moorings has recently been completed. "Based upon public input received during the scoping process for the Vessel Management Plan, adjustments were made to the original program to add moorings on the South Shore and relocate several North Shore moorings," the report says.
To facilitate access to Waterlemon Cay, the dinghy tether was moved closer to the beach.
In Francis Bay, boat exclusion buoys have been relocated to protect seagrass from anchoring damage.
Also in response to public comment, the report says, "small support buoys have been added to make the painter lines easier to pick up, and buoy numbers are being added to facilitate the reporting of damage. The Coral Bay Yacht Club assisted with these tasks, as well as installing buoy labels. The Friends of the Park financed the production of a new mooring brochure and an update of the "Mariners' Resource Protection Guide."
To obtain copies of the April Project News report and planning documents, or to schedule a group presentation, telephone Jim Owens, V.I. National Park, at (340) 693-8950 ext. 228, or e- mail him at npplanning@islands.vi. The scoping reports are posted at www.friendsvinp.org.

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The National Park Service in its April Project News report summarizes the information collected over the last four months at open houses, workshops and other forums and via completed questionnaires on the vessel management and commercial services plans to be developed for longterm implementation in the V.I. National Park. All of this data gathering is part of what the NPS calls the "scoping process" for the plans.
Nearly 200 people took part in the four open houses, and about the same number participated in presentations or workshops, the report says, and about 65 completed questionnaires were received.
The objective was "to determine the scope of the analysis to be conducted in preparing the vessel management and commercial services plans and their accompanying environmental assessments." Based on the input received, the NPS has created a list of "scoping issues" for each plan, stated as questions the plans should address.
For each plan, a scoping report summarizes the scoping process and identifies issues to be addressed in the plan, issues that are beyond the plan's scope, and significant issues for which a range of alternative management strategies will be developed.
Public and agency comments "identified a wide range of issues to address in the two plans," the report says. The NPS is required to focus its analysis and documentation on the "significant issues" that represent key options for decision-making and serve as the basis for developing and comparing alternative management strategies.
"While the plans will focus on these significant issues, all issues identified through scoping will be addressed," the report says. One example would be how park management of marine resources compares with that in other locations with similar resources. Another would be the effects of the recently installed moorings on boating use patterns. Alternatives to be analyzed will include implementation issues such as improvements in enforcement and education, and ongoing monitoring needs. Following are questions addressing the "significant issues" identified for each plan.
VESSEL MANAGEMENT PLAN
The Vessel Management Plan will provide long-term management direction for the use of park waters by all types of vessels. Comments received during the scoping process addressed 15 topic areas. The following 26 significant issues will serve as the basis for developing and comparing alternatives.
Appropriate Uses Within Park Waters:
1. Should ferries and commercial vessels passing through park waters to destinations elsewhere be diverted outside park waters for safety, environmental and other reasons?
2. Should loud, high-speed boats (e.g., cigarette boats) be barred from park waters?
3. Should mini-cruise ships (125 to 210 feet in length) be barred from park waters?
4. Is the anchoring/mooring of large cruise ship passenger transport vessels appropriate within park waters?
Carrying Capacity Limitations:
5. Are limitations on specific uses or on access to specific bays and beaches needed to protect park resources and ensure a quality recreational experience?
Anchoring and Mooring:
6. Should additional anchorless areas be designated?
7. Should specific anchoring areas be designated?
8. Should additional moorings, including those reserved for vessels 60 to 75 feet in length, and a hurricane mooring in Mary's Creek be provided?
9. Should moorings be removed to provide additional anchoring opportunities?
10. Does the current location of moorings provide sufficient and convenient access for swimming/snorkeling uses? Should anchoring near or on beaches be accommodated, particularly by commercial multi-passenger vessels?
11. Is it appropriate to authorize the installation and maintenance of moorings by private parties?
12. Should moorings be reserved for commercial day use and commercial overnight operators?
Beach Access and Use:
13. What is appropriate in terms of dinghy access to beaches?
14. Should concessionaires be required to install and maintain dinghy tethers or docks at Caneel Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Little Maho Bay?
15. Should dinghy tethers be installed at popular snorkeling/swimming sites (e.g., Honeymoon Beach and Little Cinnamon Bay)?
Fee Program/Commercial Use Authorizations:
16. What is a reasonable and equitable fee program for usage of park waters that reflects different size vessels and types of uses, day use versus overnight use, and anchoring versus mooring?
17. What is the program for fee collection?
18. What types of providers of commercial services for park visitors should be required to obtain commercial use authorizations to operate within park waters?
Boating Facilities and Services:
19. What additional dock space in Cruz Bay should the NPS provide for dinghies and larger vessels? For what time frame should dock space be made available?
20. What is the future of the Red Hook dock site?
21. Should the NPS provide pump-out facilities? What are the requirements for the use, operations, locations and financing of pump-out facilities, if provided?
Use Regulations:
22. Should appropriate speed limits and/or no wake zones be established in all anchorages and swimming areas?
23. Should a maximum speed limit be instituted throughout park waters?
24. Should the use of multiple spotlights to attract baitfish or the use of halogen lights be regulated?
Hassel Island:
25. What docking and other visitor facilities are needed?
26. Are limitations on commercial use authorizations needed?
COMMERCIAL SERVICES PLAN
The Commercial Services Plan will determine what types and levels of commercial services are necessary and appropriate within the park and the most effective and efficient way to deliver and manage those services. Through scoping, eight significant issues were identified for use in developing and comparing alternatives.
Carrying Capacity Limitations:
1. What limitations should be placed on commercial use authorizations to protect park resources and ensure a quality recreational experience?
2. What areas should be designated as venues for group tours?
Existing Commercial Services:
3. Should the existing single concession for Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay be split into separate concessions?
4. Should the existing watersports operations at Caneel, Trunk, Cinnamon and Little Maho bays be separate concessions?
New Commercial Services:
5. What new and/or expanded commercial services are needed to ensure a quality visitor experience?
6. What types of small business opportunities for Virgin Islanders should be provided?
Transportation Services:
7. Should the park enter into a concession agreement for the provision of transportation services, with specific provisions for service levels, parking, use of pullouts, dispatch, etc.?
Commercial Use Authorizations:
8. What types of service providers for park visitors should be required to obtain commercial use authorizations to operate within the park?
The NPS is soliciting comment now from two perspectives with regard to the significant issues identified here: (1) Are these the right issues to assess in the two plans? (2) Are there any additional issues that should be considered? "Comments will be most useful if received by May 3," the report states.
Over the next few weeks, a range of alternative management strategies will be developed to address the identified significant issues. Public input will then be sought on whether these alternatives represent an appropriate range of alternatives to analyze in detail in the plans. The NPS expects to disseminate a "Proposed Range of Alternatives" report by the end of April. The two draft management plan and environmental assessments are to be completed by mid-June. "A wide array of public review opportunities will be provided in conjunction with the release of these docume nts," the report says, with adoption of final plans to come in late July.
Mooring installation completed
As a result of funding obtained by the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, the installation of 175 new moorings, retrofitting of 26 existing moorings, and replacement of 13 existing commercial moorings has recently been completed. "Based upon public input received during the scoping process for the Vessel Management Plan, adjustments were made to the original program to add moorings on the South Shore and relocate several North Shore moorings," the report says.
To facilitate access to Waterlemon Cay, the dinghy tether was moved closer to the beach.
In Francis Bay, boat exclusion buoys have been relocated to protect seagrass from anchoring damage.
Also in response to public comment, the report says, "small support buoys have been added to make the painter lines easier to pick up, and buoy numbers are being added to facilitate the reporting of damage. The Coral Bay Yacht Club assisted with these tasks, as well as installing buoy labels. The Friends of the Park financed the production of a new mooring brochure and an update of the "Mariners' Resource Protection Guide."
To obtain copies of the April Project News report and planning documents, or to schedule a group presentation, telephone Jim Owens, V.I. National Park, at (340) 693-8950 ext. 228, or e- mail him at npplanning@islands.vi. The scoping reports are posted at www.friendsvinp.org.