Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Virgin Islands National Park

Good evening everyone, My name is Isaiah Lewis and I have the pleasure of interning at Virgin Islands National Park this summer. Let me start off by saying I knew I would like islands because the moment I landed and got off the plane, airport staff had complimentary Caribbean Rum waiting for all of the passengers. I didn't accept it (sad face). But they get an A+++ just for that so immediately, they were good in my book.

An utterly beautiful and celestial place is what I would use to describe the Virgin Islands as a whole and more specifically, St. John. I've never seen in my life waters that literally reflect the color in the sky with such accuracy. The beach sand is about as white as it can get and as an entirety, the island is so well kept. The cleanliness level is something I was amazed at and not particularly used to because I'm from Philadelphia (cough).

My first week at V.I.N.P. was an interesting one. I've met 3 of the 4 rangers this park has so far because one is out for training stateside currently but, he'll be back soon. Everyone I've met so far, rangers and other divisions alike, have been very receptive of me so far. I spent my first week learning about some of the more common / petty violations this park experiences on a daily basis. Some of these violations include glass bottles on the beach, smoking on the beach (occasionally), parking issues, permits to do certain activities within the park, and dogs on the beach. The dog violation I questioned a little more because I was confused as to why dogs couldn't be on the beach. Something interesting that I found out while I was talking to the chief LE ranger is that a dog is a predator to sea turtles that nest on beaches and although dogs won't eat or hurt sea turtles, they'll dig the nest up because of it's smell and can be washed away by the ocean water. If a turtle smells a dog, they'll relocate to a less ideal beach for nesting. So, that is the reasoning for that regulation about dogs.

During my second week I'll be working out in the ocean doing boat patrol with my supervisor. I'm looking forward to that and the types of things we find out there. Stay tuned.

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