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National Park Service Extends Public Comment on Exchange of St. John Land With USVI

Virgin Islands National Park entrance sign, St. John, USVI (Shutterstock)

The National Park Service (NPS) extends the 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 through March 15 via the following methods: directly into the agency’s planning website: www.parkplanning.nps.gov/stjohnlandexchange

or emailed to russell_webb@nps.gov

or mailed to Land Resources Program Office — National Park Service, 2975 Horseshoe Dr. S., Suite 800, Naples, Fla. 34104

or dropped off in person at the park’s Visitor Center between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

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.

In December 2022, the park posted a Notice of Realty Action (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.

Also, last December, 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 to conduct an EA, the FONSI outlines the land exchange and explains why the plan will have no significant effects on natural, cultural or human environments.

The FONSI 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 NPS 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. www.nps.gov

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