Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Program Visit: VIIS

The program visits to the three Caribbean parks marked the first joint park visits for me and NPS Program Manager/Ranger Adrian Fernandez.  Since Adrian is a native of St. Croix, it certainly made this the easiest trip that I’ve planned (and the best food I’ve eaten on a site visit!) 

Our first visit was the to the Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) which also oversees the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR).  Although VICR is managed by the same staff as VIIS, its submerged lands are governed by different laws and policies.

Ranger Fernandez quizzing Isaiah on his boating knowledge.
We arrived in St. Thomas on a Sunday afternoon and headed to the ferry to St. John.  ProRanger Isaiah Lewis met us at the Visitor Center/Park Headquarters.  Over a light dinner on the beach with Isaiah, Chief Ranger Rick Gupman and Ranger Dave Horner, I learned a lot about the history of cooperation between the three Caribbean parks.

Early the next morning, Isaiah and the Chief met us at the NPS dock on St. Thomas to head out for a tour of the island.  

ProRanger Lewis and Chief Gupman arrive!
Keeping that 36 C.F.R. close at hand!

Isaiah took the captain’s role, but we almost immediately encountered a problem with one of the boat engines and headed back to St. John for inspection and repairs (it turned out to be some sand in the engine that was easily cleared).  This gave us a nice opportunity to meet with Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer and present a plaque commemorating the park's participation in the program.  

Chief Gupman, Deputy Superintendent Schaeffer, ProRanger Lewis and Ranger Fernandez

Then we resumed our tour of the island on a different boat.   Captain Isaiah gave us a tour of the island, pointing out beaches, bays and other historical landmarks.

After returning to St. John, Isaiah gave us a driving tour of the side of the island and more of the park.  

Traffic jam on St. John

Salt Pond hike

Not dressed for the beach!

Some things you don't typically see in a mainland parking lot!

We took a short hike to Salt Pond beach and viewed the sand and inviting water from our hiking clothes and boots. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon (in air conditioning!!) meeting with Chief Gupman and Isaiah’s primary supervisor, Ranger Ludric Smith. Before returning to St. Thomas, we took a detour to take a look at Isaiah’s summer housing.  What an unbelievable view!  I just hope that Isaiah had a little free time this summer to enjoy it.

View from ProRanger Lewis's back door!
Then it was time to return to St. Thomas!  Day two in the islands and I still hadn’t touched the water! 

Up Next:  CHRI

No comments:

Post a Comment