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Thursday, March 23, 2023
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V.I. National Park Reopens Beaches, Trails, Parking Areas

Honeymoon and Hawksnest beaches at Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. (National Park Service photo)
Honeymoon and Hawksnest beaches at Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. (National Park Service photo)

The Virgin Islands National Park on St. John is announcing additional modifications to operations to support federal, territorial and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Beginning Monday, April 20, the V.I. National Park will reopen park beaches, trails and parking areas. These areas were temporarily closed on April 6 in order to protect the health of the public’s visiting the park and to assure consistency with Gov. Albert Bryan Jr’s order for the closure of all territorial beaches for two weeks. On Friday, April 18, the governor announced plans to reopen the territory’s beaches on Monday, April 20, and the park is following suit.

“I am pleased to reopen these areas of the park so that visitors can again experience their park lands and waters,” said National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Nigel Fields. “Visiting natural places is important for our well-being, especially so during this challenging time.”

Like the governor, Fields is emphasizing that individuals who plan to visit the park must remain mindful of social and physical distancing guidelines and to maintain plenty of space between families at the beach and on trails. Park pavilions remain closed; BBQs and parties are prohibited.

Previously, on March 21, Governor Bryan ordered all non-essential businesses to cease in-person operations until April 6 and to require those employees to stay at home. Hotels, villas and similar business are not to accept guests and reservations for 30 days. Bars are ordered closed and restaurants are allowed to provide takeout service only. On March 30, Bryan extended those closures through April 30.

Beginning March 23, the V.I. National Park began limiting services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. The following services and operations have been be modified in order to comply with the territory’s orders, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NPS guidance:
The Cruz Bay Visitors Center is closed. Information and services will not be available.

  • The park dock and bulkhead at the Cruz Bay Visitors Center is closed to commercial activity.
  • No more than two individuals may occupy a dinghy when travelling to or from the NPS dock.
  • All restrooms and porta johns in the park are closed.
  • Guided hikes and other on-site public or educational programs are cancelled.
  • Food service and watersports rentals at Trunk Bay are not available.
  • The park will not issue special visitor use or business permits.
  • Trash is not being collected. When visiting the park, bring garbage bags so you can take your trash with you. Pack it in, pack it out!
  • Trash receptacles are not available for boater trash. Boaters must make other arrangements for trash disposal. Do not leave trash on shore.
  • The pavilions at Trunk, Maho and Hawksnest bays are closed, as are changing rooms and showers.

Moorings remain open for use; mooring fees are being collected. The waters of both Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument remain open. Law enforcement staff will remain on duty and may be reached at 1-866-995-8467. The National Park Service will continue to work through this time together. Please continue to respect park lands and waters, and one another.

The NPS encourages people who choose to visit Virgin Islands National Park and the Monument during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and territorial and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.

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