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Cruz Bay
Saturday, June 22, 2024


Oct. 31, 2001 – For anyone on a tight budget, a Veterans Day weekend outing at the V.I. National Park may be just the ticket. For starters, the park, like all of the 384 others in the National Park Service system, will waive admission fees Nov. 10-12. At the St. John park, that means free admission to Trunk Bay beach and the Annaberg Plantation, the only areas where fees are charged.
The national parks across the country normally have free admission on Founder's Day, which is Aug. 25. This year, Interior Secretary Gale Norton also has designated the Veterans Day weekend as a time of fee-free days, to "encourage solace and healing" in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the mainland.
"Our nation's parks, monuments and memorials are an inspiration to the freedoms all Americans cherish," Norton said in a press release.
V.I. National Park Supt. John King said he hopes local residents will take advantage of the opportunity to explore Trunk Bay and Annaberg without having to pay admission. Staff at the Cruz Bay Visitor Center will be handing out free bookmarks, too.
The normal combined admission fee for Trunk Bay and Annaberg is $4 for those 16 years of age and older. Children 16 and under are always admitted free. (Annual passes are $15 for families and $10 for individuals.)
For those who really want to make a weekend of it, there are other incentives, too. At the park's Cinnamon Bay Campground, sleeping accommodations will be half the normal price, dropped to $12.50 a night for bare sites, $40 for tents and $52.50 to $67.50 for cottages. To further sweeten the pie, the campground is offering 50 percent off snorkel rentals and 25 percent off meals at the T'ree Lizards Restaurant on the property.
"It's to drive some visitorship into the park," said Brian Young, manager at Caneel Bay Resort, which holds the park concession to manage Cinnamon Bay Campground.
Maho Bay Camps, also located with the park boundaries, has extended its half-price summer locals' rate to Nov. 15. That means two people can sleep in one of the campground tent cottages for $37.50 a night. Also until Nov. 15, up to children under 16 stay free, so make that two adults and two kids for a total of $37.50 a night. The deal also is good at the Concordia Eco-tents, located near Salt Pond. Both properties are owned by Stanley Selingut, an internationally recognized ecology-oriented developer.
For those uninterested in tenting and camping, Caneel Bay Resort is offering a locals' rate of $125 a room for two people until Dec. 15. Other hotels, guest houses and inns around St. John also have locals' rates. A telephone call to any of them will provide deals and details.
Norton suggested that anyone planning an outing over the Veterans Day weekend consider taking advantage of the opportunity to visit a park for free. The National Park system includes parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, lake- and seashores, recreational areas, scenic rivers and trails in every state but Delaware, as well as in Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Puerto Rico and, of course, the Virgin Islands.
The V.I. National Park oversees operations not only at the park on St. John but also at the new Coral Reef National Monument located off St. John, on Hassel Island in the St. Thomas harbor, and at the Christiansted National Historic Site, Buck Island Reef National Monument and the joint territorial and federal Salt River National Park and Ecological Preserve on St. Croix.
On St. Croix, the only National Park Service facility with an admission fee is Fort Christiansvaern, which charges $2 per person over the age of 16. For Nov. 10-12, that fee will also be waived.
For overnight information and reservations, call Cinnamon Bay Campground at 776-6330, Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Eco-tents at 776-6226 and Caneel Bay Resort at 776-6111.

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