Park service seeks public input on St. Croix Island

Posted Feb. 02, 2009, at 9:03 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — The National Park Service is looking at the St. Croix Island International Historic Site in hopes of charting a plan for improvements over the next 15 years.

The public is invited to comment on the plan for the site on the St. Croix River by Wednesday. The comment period opened Jan. 5, when the NPS released “Environmental Assessment/Assessment of Effect for the Draft Facilities Plan.”

The site consists of the 6½-acre island located in the St. Croix River and the nearby 29½ acres on the mainland.

“The National Park Service is seeking public comment on our draft facilities development plan which is also … an assessment of the impacts of this plan on the environment and it is also an assessment of the effects on the historical features of this site,” Park Ranger Meg Scheid said Monday.

A team of eight NPS professionals, with public input, worked almost two years on the draft plan.

The assessment presents four alternatives for providing universally accessible visitor and administrative facilities at Red Beach, specifically a ranger station with year-round restrooms and other amenities, expanded maintenance facilities and employee housing. This would be accomplished while also protecting the community’s and site’s character, historic structures, cultural landscapes, and natural and cultural resources, the draft plan said.

“There is a lot to accomplish in a little tiny plan,” Scheid said.

The plan also will address the use of the large yellow McGlashan-Nickerson house, acquired by the NPS in 2000.

The assessment explains the purpose and need for the plan, describes natural and cultural resources near the project site, describes actions that would be taken to minimize adverse effects, and evaluates the potential effects of each alternative. No facilities are planned for St. Croix Island, the park service said in a press release.

The historic site was proclaimed a national monument in 1949 and redesignated an international historic site in 1984. The island commemorates the first French attempt to colonize the territory known as Acadia. It also is the location of one of the earliest European settlements in North America in the early 1600s.

A public information meeting on the draft plan was held in January, but those who did not attend can still have their say.

The assessment is available for review and comment on the Internet from the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Click on “Saint Croix Island Intl HS” from the “Choose a Park” drop-down menu, then “Go,” then click on the project name to find the draft plan or submit comments electronically.

Paper copies of the plan are available for review in Calais, Eastport, and St. Stephen and St. Andrews, New Brunswick, public libraries. Questions can be directed to Scheid at 454-3871.

Written comments may be sent until Feb. 4 to Superintendent Sheridan Steele, Acadia National Park, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor 04609, fax 288-8709.

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