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Redevelopment of Caneel Bay - Civic Engagement Newsletter

The National Park Service (NPS) is releasing an initial set of concepts that could guide the redevelopment of Caneel Bay at Virgin Islands National Park. The public is invited to provide input on the concepts for 30 days beginning January 18, 2022.

"We developed a preliminary range of options that prioritize the protection of resources and expand public access to Caneel Bay," said Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Nigel Fields. "Civic engagement is an important part of the redevelopment process. We look forward to receiving the public's feedback as we work together to create the best possible future for Caneel Bay."

While the Caneel Bay retained use estate (RUE) will remain in place until its expiration on September 30, 2023, the NPS began planning for the Caneel Bay redevelopment last fall. The goals of the redevelopment plan are to ensure the preservation and protection of natural, cultural and marine resources, provide for economic development opportunities through commercial services, maximize operational efficiencies, and ensure compliance with law, regulation and policy.

In line with these objectives, four preliminary redevelopment options are proposed for the public to comment on, including:

Alternative A— The NPS preliminary proposed action balances enhanced public access, recreational opportunities, resource protection and park operational efficiency while re-establishing a world-class overnight experience at a luxury resort. Additionally, the concept calls for a mid-range overnight experience at Hawksnest Beach separate from the resort, and the NPS would provide space for an organization to design, fund, construct, and operate a community destination, such as an amphitheater, museum, or cultural center.

Alternative B offers a similar management approach to Alternative A, except the resort area is expanded, a mid-range overnight experience and public access at Hawksnest Beach is removed.

Alternative C includes all resort zone elements identified in Alternative A, and the resort zone is similar to that of the historic boundaries of the Caneel Bay RUE. No visitor services would be provided at the site for non-resort guests, and the NPS would not provide a community space at the Caneel Bay area.

No-Action Alternative assumes sole management by the NPS upon expiration of the RUE in 2023. The NPS would not issue any permit, lease or concession contract. The NPS would minimally restore the site to allow for safe access by visitors through existing roads and trails, including safe access to beaches.

NPS will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, February 8 at 6 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time. Members of the public can attend the virtual event by clicking on the Meetings Notices tab on the left of your screen.

As you prepare your comments, the NPS is interested in hearing from you on topics such as:

•The clarity of our purpose, need, and objectives;
•What types of experiences, activities, and services should be available at the Caneel Bay area that are not already captured in our conceptual range of preliminary alternatives;
•Feedback on the list of significant issues that the NPS should analyze in the planning process and whether additional issues should be considered in detail and why.
Comment Period: Closed        Jan 18, 2022 - Mar 4, 2022
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