Pam Heath asked us why the public can’t park at the V.I. National Park’s Red Hook, St. Thomas facility, but park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove said that isn’t so.
“There’s a section open to the public,” he said.
According to Hardgrove, there are 22 spaces allocated for the public, 22 for park staff and about 30 along the trees for Caneel Bay Resort staff with permits. He said the park began apportioning parking spaces about three years ago.
The park has agreements with Caneel Bay and the Westin Resort, St. John to provide parking for their St. Thomas-based employees. Hardgrove said park employees who commute from St. Thomas to their jobs on St. John use the park’s spaces.
Additionally, he said the public spaces seldom fill up.
The public parking spaces are used mainly by people who use the park road for walking and running, Hardgrove said. He also said that many people walk from their nearby homes to use the road for recreational purposes.
The road and the parking areas are open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. After the gates close a guard is on duty until midnight to open the gates when Caneel Bay ferries shuttle employees from St. John to St. Thomas. If the Westin needs to use the facility, Hardgrove said the guard also opens the gate.
In the past, there were issues with car break-ins, but Hardgrove said the park has a ranger living at the Red Hook facility and several employees working during the day in the park buildings.
Hardgrove said Caneel Bay also put up cameras to monitor the area, which helped with the break-in problem.