Saint Croix Island, long known to locals as Dochet Island, is a small uninhabited island in Maine near the mouth of the Saint Croix River that forms part of the Canada–United States border separating Maine from New Brunswick. The island was the site of an early attempt at French colonization by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons in 1604. In 1984 it was designated by the United States Congress as Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. There is no public access to the island, but there is a visitor contact station on the U.S. mainland and a display on the Canadian mainland opposite the island.
International Historic Site
In the United States, the island was designated Saint Croix Island National Monument by the United States Congress in 1949. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It was given its current designation by Congress as an International Historic Site on September 25, 1984, a unique designation in the national park systems of the United States and Canada. Since 1968, the island has been managed by the National Park Service from offices at Acadia National Park, the nearest staffed U.S. national park unit, in consultation with Parks Canada, which maintains a viewing and interpretation site on the New Brunswick side of the river.
In Canada, the island was first recognized in 1958 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board (HSMB) as having national historic significance. It recommended creation of Dochet Island National Historic Site, but this was rejected by the government on the basis that its location fell outside national jurisdiction. A decade later, in 1968, the HSMB reiterated the site's significance, suggesting Parks Canada "...cooperate with the United States National Parks [sic] Service in the development of the island as an Historic Park." This was approved, and today Parks Canada operates St. Croix Island International Historic Site at Bayside, New Brunswick, a site overlooking the island, similar to the U.S. approach to the site's interpretation.
The two nations routinely cooperate on commemorative activities and promotions. Special commemorations by the two nations in 2004 marked the 400th anniversary of French settlement in North America. In 2009, the site started offering a full French translation of its U.S. website, offered by teen volunteer Olivier Fontenelle. Its Parks Canada website, like all others in its network, has been offered in French since first appearing online.
The HSMB designates three categories of commemoration: nationally significant Sites, Events, and Persons. While the HSMB had recommended Dochet Island National Historic Site in 1958, it was unclear whether the HSMB's later recommendation, in 1968, was to name it a Site or an Event. This was clarified in 2008. Relying on a 1960 HSMB decision that naming national historic sites outside Canada should be avoided, and in light of policy that Events and Persons outside the country may be designated, it decided that Dochet Island had been designated a national historic event in 1968.
However, since the 1968 designation was approved under the name "St. Croix Island", and this was the name used in the international agreement, the HSMB's Status of Designations Committee confirmed the official name of the designation which had referred to Dochet Island would be "Ste. Croix Island".