Letter From Friends President Regarding COVID-19

Dear Friends, Members and Supporters:

Due to the current and very fluid situation with COVID-19 the Friends are working to make sure our staff, volunteers, members, partners, visitors and community members are not put at undue risk.

Beginning Thursday, March 19th, we will be discontinuing the Reef Bay hike and all scheduled events and seminars through the end of April, or until guidance from the Governor and CDC deems it safe to resume. We feel that during group gatherings, taxi and boat transportation there is very real risk of spread of the virus. If you are scheduled for a hike or event in March or April, we will be in contact with you.

By all means, please continue hiking the trails in our beautiful Virgin Islands National Park! We can think of no better way to practice healthy social distancing. We will continue to keep trails maintained with the help of island-based volunteers and staff.

While the Earth Day event will be canceled, we are planning virtual ways to celebrate during the month of April! We are also planning to hold beach clean-ups in April as we do every year. More information will be available on our website and social media.

The National Park Service will be closing the Visitor Center today (NPS Press release).  We will be closing the Friends stores in both the Visitor Center and Mongoose Junction until further notice.  Please visit our online store at https://friendsvinp.org/friends-virgin-islands-park-store for your Friends gear and gift needs. All purchases help support important projects and programs in the park.

The Friend’s staff is being encouraged to telework as much as possible to minimize contact and to better focus on personal and family health and wellness. Please call ahead if you need to meet with a member of the staff at our offices to insure they are available. We are working on improving our online resources and exploring new ways of keeping our members and visitors informed of what’s happening in your Virgin Islands National Park. Wherever you are in the world, we hope our Virgin Islands scenes and updates will help make your time until you can visit again a little more bearable.

Although many activities are being postponed, our commitment to our park and our mission cannot falter. We will continue to maintain our trails, clean our beaches, and maintain re-vegetation efforts. We will continue to stand strong on the frontlines, advocating for the protection and preservation of our park's natural and cultural resources. And, we will once again, like after the hurricanes, and throughout the government shutdown, position ourselves to respond to the park's needs with urgency, professionalism, and foresight.

Our community has shown its resilience time and again. We expect this will be no different. We will continue to provide updates as the situation warrants any changes. Stay up to date at https://friendsvinp.org/ and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thank you for your continued support of the Friends and Virgin Islands National Park, it is just as important now as ever.

Wishing you all good health. Take care.

 

Todd Sampsell,

President

 

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