National Park Close...
Clear all

National Park Closes Southside Area to Protect Rare Species

Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member
Topic starter

After someone cut an illegal trail into the area, the V.I. National Park closed an area on St. John’s remote south side known as White Cliffs to protect a rare plant species, Eugenia earhartii.

The plant, which was damaged by the trail cutting, is endemic to St. John and is known to be found only within the park.

According to Paul Thomas, the park’s chief of interpretation, the closure will be indefinite. “We have to give the plant time to recover,” he said.

The temporary closure does not affect public access to any park beaches or designated park trails.

The shoreline remains open, but there is no access to the interior from Reef Bay to Europa Bay.

The closed area is south of Lameshur Bay Trail, west of Europa Bay Trail and east of Reef Bay Trail/Reef Bay Sugar Mill. The closure also includes rock climbing.

According to a Tuesday press release from the park, rangers found and tried repeatedly to disguise an unauthorized trail off the Europa Bay earlier last year, and posted closed signs on the unauthorized trail. In December park rangers discovered the closed area signs had been torn down, broken and tossed aside.

Thomas said the problem of illegal trail cutting continues, but it’s not as “rampant” as in previous years.

There are no authorized or maintained park trails inside this temporarily closed area but there are authorized park trails that delineate the external boundary of the designated closed area.

The Reef Bay trail, Reef Bay factory ruins, Lameshur Bay trail, Lameshur Bay factory ruins, and the Europa Bay trail surrounding the area of temporary closure will remain open to the public.

The press release indicates that federal law prohibits unauthorized plant or trail cutting. The law indicates that possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging or disturbing plants, plant parts or plant products from their natural state is prohibited.

Anyone found within the closed-off area without written permission or permit from park management is subject to a fine.
The species, Eugenia earhartii, will be evaluated for potential listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Thomas said he did not know how many of the rare plants were in the area.

The temporary closure of the 325 acres will remain in effect while the plant and the surrounding plant habitat undergo further evaluation
See map:

Posted : January 30, 2013 12:51 pm
Search this website Type then hit enter to search
Close Menu