U.S. Virgin Islands Reopening National Parks Post Hurricanes

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Among the consequences of devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands was the closure of the region’s national parks

As the islands recover, on Monday the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the reopening of Christiansted National Historic Site and Buck Island Reef National Monument on the island of St. Croix; and Trunk Bay Beach at Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John. Besides being glorious pieces of land, the parks also brought in over half a million visitors in 2016 and supplied 900 jobs, according to a release from the Department of the Interior.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work of National Park Service staff, volunteers, and their partners in the Virgin Islands. Their commitment to the park and to the community is inspiring. I’ve heard many stories of staff tending to the needs of the park and their neighbors before even taking care of themselves,” said the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a statement.

Governor Kenneth Mapp also included that the timing of the cleanup was perfect to align with Thanksgiving celebrations on the pristine beaches.  The move is great news for the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism dollars during peak winter seasons.