Purchase Protects Beach and Forest in Virgin Islands National Park

April 24, 2012
St. John

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Trust for Public Land today announced the addition of 58 acres of biologically diverse lands in the Maho Bay area of Virgin Islands National Park.

"This is success story on a number of levels,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The Trust for Public Land has been out front on Maho Bay, preserving important lands and keeping them undeveloped.”

Trust for Public Land CEO Will Rogers said, "The beach at Maho Bay is now protected in perpetuity for the many thousands of visitors and island residents who enjoy the beach each year."

Rogers said the land also has an upland tropical forest. “It will never be developed,” he said. “A resort hotel and hundreds of condominiums could have been built there so you can see how critical this project is to the long-term integrity of Virgin Islands National Park."

The $2.25 million purchase was completed with funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund – fees paid to the government as a result of offshore oil and gas leasing.

“That’s another success story,” Jarvis said. “The National Park Service has been able to purchase park in-holdings – privately held land within national park boundaries – from willing sellers and in many instances, TPL bought the land and held it until we received LWCF funding.” Rogers said the Maho Bay area has a greater value as undeveloped parkland where it will continue to benefit native plant and animal species and serve as a spectacular place for reflection and recreation for park visitors. The land purchase also connects the east and west sides of Virgin Islands National Park for the first time.