St. John Beaches Reopen

Maho Bay, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)

V.I. National Park Beaches Open
By Lynda Lohr — October 6, 2013

Virgin Islands National Park beaches, waters and hiking trails on St. John are open effective Sunday, Deputy Superintendent Mike Anderson said at 7 a.m. Sunday. The beaches, hiking trails and roads to beaches closed Oct. 1 when the federal government shut down.

“Our management asked for clarification on beach access as related to how the park was created,” Anderson said.

He said that based on advice from the U.S. Interior Department’s solicitor’s office, the park decided to open the beaches, hiking trails and park roads that lead to beaches. The North Shore Road that leads past most of the beaches was open throughout the week because it is a public road.

He said he was not clear on the specifics of what transpired since that discussion happened at the park’s southeast regional headquarters in Atlanta but had to do with the enabling legislation for the park.

“The legal interpretation was that we should provide public access to the beach,” he said.

Anderson pointed out that the opening of the beaches has nothing to do with the territory’s open shoreline law because federal law supersedes local law.

He said that lifeguards will return to duty Monday morning at Trunk Bay, the only beach that has lifeguards. Anderson said the Trunk Bay restrooms will also reopen.

The Visitor Center in Cruz Bay and Annaberg Plantation both will remain closed…. read more

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