V.I. National Park Opens Final Public Comment Period on Potential Exchange of STJ Land

A sunrise at V.I. National Park on St. John (file photo)

The National Park Service (NPS) opens the final 45-day public comment period for Virgin Islands National Park’s potential land exchange of St. John land with the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands for the island’s public education needs. Interested parties may submit comments from Jan. 8, 2023, until Feb. 21, 2023, to the following address: Land Resources Program Office – National Park Service, 2975 Horseshoe Dr. S., Suite 800, Naples, Florida 34104. Alternatively, comments may be emailed to russell_webb@nps.gov.

Local officials have expressed a long-standing need to construct the first public K-12 school on St. John. The territory determined that the Catherineberg Estate is the preferred site on St. John for a new public school, due to its central location along an existing roadway and its relatively gentle slopes, in exchange for territory-owned Whistling Cay.

The park posted a ‘Notice of Realty Action,’ or a public notice of terms and conditions to interested parties through online and print newspapers for awareness prior to the final public comment period opening.

The NPS issued a ‘Finding of No Significant Impact’ (FONSI) on the environmental assessment (EA) for the potential land exchange. In response to a request from the territory in August 2022 to conduct an environmental assessment, the ‘Finding of No Significant Impact’ outlines the land exchange and explains why the plan will have no significant effects on natural, cultural or human environments.

Because of this, an environmental impact statement is not needed. The ‘Finding of No Significant Impact’ includes a summary of public comments received during the public comment period that closed on Sept. 22, 2022, as well as a determination that the activity will not lead to an impairment of park resources and values.

The National Park Service will continue to support and coordinate with the territory as requested on additional compliance elements as the land exchange proceeds and the future design and development of the school progresses.