At the end of March, Sally Jewell will make her first visit to the Virgin Islands since being sworn in as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior in April 2013.
The department has 70,000 employees and scores of divisions. It acts as steward for 20 percent of the nation’s public lands, including its wildlife refuges and national parks, oversees development of energy supplies on national lands, is the largest manager and supplier of water in 17 Western states, and holds trust responsibilities for 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska natives, as well as being responsible for the Insular Areas, which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The department is “huge,” said V.I. federal affairs coordinator Shawn Michael Malone, explaining the significance of Jewell’s visit.
The secretary will arrive on St. Thomas March 29 for a two and a half day visit, Malone said. She is expected to visit St. John, and to be the keynote speaker at Transfer Day ceremonies on St. Croix and to meet with Gov. Kenneth Mapp.
A petroleum engineer by training, Jewell is known as an avid outdoors woman and mountain climber.