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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPark Planning Increase of Trunk Bay and Mooring Fees

Park Planning Increase of Trunk Bay and Mooring Fees

Patrick Coffey of the park’s fee program holds an annual pass.A proposal to increase the fees to use Trunk Bay Beach didn’t seem to bother anyone at a V.I. National Park open house, but one St. John boater said she worried she’d be priced out of using the any of the 175 moorings at various bays in the park.

“It would be a burden,” boater Lee Stanciauskas said.

About a dozen people attended an open house on the fee program held Wednesday at the park’s visitors center.

The park wants to raise the overnight mooring and anchoring fee from $15 a night to $26.

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Stanciauskas said at $26 a night, the cost for a weekend of sailing around St. John will add up.

The park wants to increase the individual fee at Trunk Bay from $4 a day to $5. The annual individual pass would rise from $10 to $20, and the annual family pass from $15 to $30. Children 16 and younger are always admitted free.

Patrick Coffey, who works with the park’s fee collection program, said the annual family pass admits two adults and all children in their group who are 18 and younger.

Coffey said there currently isn’t much resistance to paying the mooring fee. He said the iron rangers where boaters deposit their nightly fees are always filled.

According to Coffey, some people at Trunk Bay grumble a bit but for the most part, people are glad to pay.

The fee increase will begin Jan. 1, 2016.

Schaeffer said the fee program currently brings in about $600,000 a year, with 80 percent of that money staying at the park to use for projects and fee collection program expenses.

Park Superintendent Brion FitzGerald later added that he expected the increase to add an addition $220,000 a year to the total, with 80 percent staying at the St. John park.

Schaeffer said the remaining 20 percent goes to the National Park Service for use at smaller national parks that don’t collect what the park terms an amenity fee. It differs from an entrance fee, such as those charged at many mainland parks to get into the park. There is no entrance fee at the park or Coral Reef National Monument.

FitzGerald said the increase will allow the park to do about two more projects a year.

Improvements at Trunk Bay are on the agenda, and Schaeffer said the money is coming from the fee program. She said future programs include a much-needed paving of the road to Francis Bay Beach. The money also went to upgrade the restrooms at the Visitors Center in Cruz Bay.

“There is not a shortage of projects,” Schaeffer said.

St. John winter resident Weldon Wasson, who was one of the people who attended the open house, said the fee program is important for the park.

“The park is underfunded and this will be a big help,” he said.

The park is seeking comments from the public on the proposed fee increases. FitzGerald said comments must be received at the park by Feb. 17 so those coming through the mail must be sent well in advance to ensure they reach the park in time.

Written comments can be mailed to Superintendent, V.I. National Park, 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St. John, VI 00830, or faxed to 1-340-776-6139, attention: Fee Increase Comments. Email can be sent to VIIS-Superintendent@nps.gov or via the website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=63610 .

Comments also can be drop them off at the Visitors Center.

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