The National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands has closed the Gorda Peak National Park until further notice due to illegal farming, land clearance and construction within national park boundaries.
The Trust said these activities are illegal under Sections 49 f, g, h, i and n of the National Parks Act 2006.
Section 49 (1) states that a person shall not, within a park or other protected area established under Part III of this Act, (f) carry out any development activity, whether terrestrial or otherwise which may or is likely to adversely impact a park or protected area; (g) place, erect, move, destroy, deface or interfere with any fence, gate, boundary marker, or other marker placed or authorized by the Trust; (h) light any fire except within an approved area; (i) clear, burn or otherwise damage any tree, bush, plant or other vegetation; (n) reside on, occupy or cultivate any land or plant or otherwise grow or harvest any crop whether on land, coast, or in the sea;
The penalty is as follows:
Section 49 (2) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable on (a) summary convictions, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both; (b) conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
The public is hereby notified that under Section 15 of the National Parks Regulations 2008, any person who has abandoned any equipment within the Gorda Peak National Park has 60 days in which to have it removed or it will be impounded and become the property of the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands.
Section 15. (1) Subject to subregulation (2) also states that no person shall deposit, leave or abandon any vehicle or any other property in any park for more than twenty-four hours, except in locations where longer time periods have been designated or in accordance with conditions established by the Director under regulation 3.
The Director may also cause any vehicle or other property which has been left or abandoned within a park for more than twenty-four hours to be impounded for sixty days or until it is claimed by its owner, whichever is sooner.
For additional information please contact the Director at telephone 284-345-3650.