Caneel Bay Finding of No Significant Impact
Virgin Islands National Park has completed the Caneel Bay redevelopment and management environmental assessment (EA), outlining plans to restore commercial overnight accommodations at Caneel Bay and continue a long legacy of hospitality and conservation. Conclusions are outlined in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) decision document signed by National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Regional Director Mark Foust.
"The NPS took the high volume of public comments received over the course of 3 years into consideration in shaping the NPS preferred alternative," Foust said. "NPS heard and incorporated the need for ensuring greater public access, promoting a National Park Service experience, protecting the special resources at Caneel, and strengthening the local economy with high quality jobs. We look forward to creating the best possible future for Caneel Bay and the people of St. John and the Virgin Islands."
The selected Alternative B identifies planned future use areas zoned for hotel lodging, public beach access, conservation, NPS interpretation and programming, and potential community and/or partnership spaces within the Caneel campus.
"The signing of the decision document marks the culmination of years of careful planning and engagement," said Superintendent Nigel Fields. "This effort involved extensive public meetings, multiple plan alternatives, over two thousand unique public comments and collaborations with numerous public agencies. As a result, we have selected a sustainable and resilient plan that helps achieve equitable access, economic stimulus opportunities, and a visitor experience unique to the U.S. Virgin Islands."
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 in 2021. 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. The redevelopment and management will offer welcoming opportunities that promote access, visitation, employment, and use of local businesses at the Caneel Bay area to a socially diverse range of users.
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