Home News Local news Castle Nugent One Step Closer to National Park Status

Castle Nugent One Step Closer to National Park Status


November 16, 2005 – The Gasperi family, owners of Castle Nugent Farms on the southeast shore of St. Croix, have a dream to protect and preserve their 1,350-acre cattle farm for future generations by having the farm declared part of the Virgin Islands National Park System.
Since 2003, at the request of the ranch's owners, Delegate Donna M. Christiansen has been pushing for the U.S. House of Representatives to complete a feasibility study that would designate Castle Nugent Farms on St. Croix as a unit of the National Park System. A bill to do just that was unanimously passed by the House on Tuesday. A similar bill passed the House last year.
The bill, HR 318, would determine whether the property is suitable to become a part of the National Park System in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The farm, which is best known as a breeding center of the world famous Senepol cattle, covers dry forest and pastureland rich in cultural resources predating the arrival of Christopher Columbus at Salt River in 1493. Located on the ranch is a large Danish estate house dating to the 1730s that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The land is bordered by four miles of pristine oceanfront with a coral reef, which some marine scientists say is the largest and healthiest in the territory.
In a press release issued from her Washington, D.C. office on Tuesday, Christensen noted that both the National Park Service and the property owners are enthusiastic about the possibility of it becoming a National Park. "The park study will provide the blueprint by which we can preserve and interpret this unique piece of island history and resources for the benefit of present and future generations," Christensen said.
In 2003, Caroline Gasperi, one of the owners of the farm, said she has been approached by several people "who would like to divvy up the ranch for wall-to-wall condominiums or more casinos." She said the ranch is one of the oldest in the West Indies and having it designated as a National Park would be an advantage to the tourist market of St. Croix. (See "Castle Nugent Farms Seeking Park Status") .
Mauro Gasperi, another owner of the farm, said in a telephone interview Tuesday, he was "elated and happy" that the wishes of his family to protect the land have gotten to this point. He said his family hopes the property can be enjoyed by "generations of Crucians to come."

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