NPS Seeks Public Input on Results of the Additional Caneel Bay Contaminant Study

Caneel Bay Resort, St. John (file photo)

The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Draft Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) Report Addendum for the Caneel Bay Resort site at Virgin Islands National Park, beginning a 30-day public comment period.

The draft addendum supplements the EE/CA Report completed in 2021 and addresses data gaps identified in the original report. Field investigations to support the addendum were completed in November 2021 and January 2022. These investigations included subsurface soil and groundwater sampling, sampling of suspected lead-based paint and asbestos-containing materials, excavation to identify an underground storage tank and a mass of concrete (previously unknown buried anomaly), well closure and background/reference soil sampling.

All samples were analyzed by an accredited laboratory. The recommendations in the Draft EE/CA Report Addendum are in addition to and are not intended to replace the recommendations in the 2021 EE/CA Report.

By way of a generous donation from Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1983, NPS maintains a vested interest in the natural and cultural features of Caneel Bay. NPS’s plans for the environmental cleanup and long-term stewardship and use of Caneel Bay continue with active consideration of input from the St. John community and the public at large.

The NPS will hold a Community Learning Session on the EE/CA Report Addendum at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14. At this hybrid meeting, to be held virtually and at the park’s Cruz Bay Visitor Center conference room, the NPS will convey its findings and recommended removal actions. The presentation will include information regarding potential risks to human health and the environment and response action alternatives evaluated in the draft EE/CA Report Addendum. Virtual meeting access will be hosted using Microsoft Teams.

Additionally, the NPS will host a hybrid (in-person and virtual) NPS Listening Session at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the park’s Cruz Bay Visitor Center conference room to receive public comments and input on the results of the EE/CA Report Addendum.

The public comment period on the Draft Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) will run from Sept. 13 through Oct. 12. The comment period will be extended for an additional 15 days upon timely request. Once the comment period ends, the NPS will provide responses to significant public comments and inform the public and stakeholders of its decision in an action memorandum.  The memorandum will be made available to the public in the site administrative record file, which can be found on the project website and at the park’s Cruz Bay Visitor Center.

Members of the public may review all the EE/CA Addendum documents and submit comments by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CaneelBayAssessment

Written comments may also be hand-delivered or mailed to the park headquarters at:

Caneel Bay Redevelopment Management Plan

c/o Superintendent Nigel Fields

1300 Cruz Bay Creek

St. John, VI 00830

Community engagement remains an NPS priority. Current information about the NPS investigation and response to environmental contamination and the redevelopment of Caneel Bay will be available throughout the cleanup, planning and development process at https://go.nps.gov/CaneelBay.

www.nps.gov

About Caneel Bay: Caneel Bay currently operates under a retained use estate (RUE), a unique arrangement crafted by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1983 setting aside the 150-acre resort for independent operation and management within Virgin Islands National Park without NPS oversight. The NPS expects to assume full responsibility for the property when the RUE expires on Sept. 30, 2023.

The resort was severely damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and remains mostly closed. In addition to long being an economic driver on the island, Caneel Bay is also an important cultural and historical site, and the location of the 1733 Akwamu Slave Rebellion, one of the first sustained revolts of enslaved people in the Americas. Current information about the NPS redevelopment of Caneel Bay is available at https://www.nps.gov/viis/caneelbay.htm.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.