The Nature Conservancy made a donation on Feb. 21, 1986, but it was never incorporated into the park’s boundaries. An announcement July 1 in the Federal Registry made the boundary expansion official. That means the215-acre donation to the V.I. National Park was officially incorporated into the park this month, 25 years after The Nature Conservancy donated the land.
The land consists of 162.5 acres in Estate Beverhoudtsberg and 52.5 acres in Estate Bellevue. Both were adjacent to the park’s authorized boundary and sit next to each other. They both border Gifft Hill School, and the land includes much of the upper watershed of the Fish Bay drainage system, which ultimately drains into park waters.
Park Superintendent, Mark Hardgrove said that while going through park land records, staff discovered the acreage was never formally transferred to the park. He said, while the park knew for 25 years that the land would be included within the park boundary, it was important for the public to know that the boundaries have changed.
According to a news release from the park, the Beverhoudtsberg Estate was one of the largest and richest estates on St. John during the early 1800s. Many of the historic features of this once prosperous estate remain. During the mid 1800s the St. John District doctor’s office was located on this estate.
Mr Hardgrove said the park hopes to include funds in its budget within the next five years to survey the boundary, especially in areas where the land is adjacent to private lands.