Estate Maho Bay, St. John

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Estate Maho Bay, US Virgin Islands
Photo credit: 
Steve Simonsen

Few places on earth match the breathtaking beauty of Maho Bay. Its crystal waters and soft white beaches are rimmed by a lush forested slope rising nearly 1,000 feet. Hundreds of tropical plants and more than 50 species of tropical birds fill these lands on the island of St. John, and just offshore are seagrass beds, green turtles, and magnificent coral reefs. With increasing growth and investment throughout the Caribbean, these vulnerable lands have become the focus of intense development pressures.

In September 2007, The Trust for Public Land purchased and permanently protected the majority of a 419-acre site known as Estate Maho Bay, located in the heart of St. John. Ultimately, the property will be added to Virgin Islands National Park, making it the largest preservation project on St. John since the national park was created through a gift from Laurence Rockefeller in 1956. The site also has significant ruins from the Danish colonial era, 1700-1860, and may have pre- Columbian cultural resources from the Taino Indians, who inhabited St. John for 800 years before Christopher Columbus arrived. With more than a quarter-mile of beachfront, the once-private property is now open to visitors and residents for hiking, bird watching, exploring, and peaceful relaxation. And in 2011 we donated 18 acres at Mamey Peak, the highest point of the Estate Maho Bay property, to the National Park Service.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.