"AMERICA'S BEST IDEA"

The MREC project and the basic principles of the NPS are founded with good intentions. However, the planned execution and logic deciding the fate and destruction of Salt River Bay are a contradiction to the very principles these institutions claim to uphold. We implore you to read the facts and decide for yourself if the proposed plan makes sense, and
urge you to take action if you agree with us.
PRINCIPLES
of the National Park Service
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To care for the environment by means of saving species, reducing our carbon footprint, and protecting our ecosystem.

February 24, 1992 marked the establishment of the Salt River Bay National Historic Park & Ecological Preserve. The park is a living museum where nature and history blend in this designated National Natural Landmark. It was set aside to preserve, protect, and tell the story of its rich contributions to the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.

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To promote the preservation of history through sustaining places, sharing stories, and conserving artifacts.

Named “One of the eleven most endangered sites in the United States and Territories” by the National Trust for Historical Preservation, Salt River may be the most important archeological site in the Caribbean. In addition to being the only site in the US where Columbus’ party touched foot on what is now U.S. Territory, Salt River Bay also hosts numerous archeological sites attributable to different tribes of Caribbean Indians. For instance: “On the bay’s east side, an Amerindian burial ground, in use between A.D. 660 and 1015, is located adjacent to Cabo de las Flechas, and ‘may be the most significant find of this nature in the Caribbean’ (NPS, 1990).”

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Focus on revitalizing communities, encouraging historic preservation, promoting health and celebrating heritage.

In 1984, the Virgin Grand by Sugar Bay Land Development Ltd planned a marina and hotel on 74 acres on the eastern shores of Salt River Bay. Much opposition by the USVI government, general public and NPS resulted in the dissolution of this development. The DPNR cited the delicate balance of the estuary and concluded “the construction of additional marinas, or an expansion of existing marina space should not be permitted activity in Salt River Bay…[Moreover] dredging should be a prohibited activity.”*. Ultimately, the land was rendered useless for future development and in 2001, the Salt River Bay National Park and Ecological Preserve was established.

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To invite stewardship by nurturing the connection between nature and the public.
CONTRADICTIONS
of the National Park Service
Save our greenspace. The ideals of building green and reducing our carbon footprint are not met when we pave over a national treasure to accommodate 150,000sf of development. The Bay is “the biological lifeboat of the Virgin Islands” (DPNR), housing all three endangered sea turtles, a vital fish nursery, and a wildlife refuge providing nesting grounds for over 26 species of birds. Dredging, creating pilings and a marina, removing the all-important mangrove trees to accommodate a parking lot on Hemer’s Peninsula violate the laws established to protect National Landmarks and treasures.
Development will endanger the cultural and historical legacy of the land and jeopardize its further protection. Diminished integrity of the land could lead to the declassification of the status of Columbus Landing, Cape of Arrows (which is eligible for listing on the National Register and inclusion in an expanded National Historic Landmark designation), and the classification of the site as a National Natural Landmark. This archeological site should be studied and preserved, not bulldozed and covered over by modern facilities.
It is estimated that there are only 6 or 7 places like Salt River’s Bioluminescent Bay in the entire world. The current MREC plan envisions a marina among its many buildings to be built on this historic site. In addition to dredging, bulkhead installation, and mangrove destruction, they wish to pump up to 300 gallons a minute of water out of the bay for holding tanks. These actions will irrefutably destroy the bioluminescence of the Bay forever. Why is it OK for the NPS to violate the rules they originally established?
It is against public law 102-247 for public park land to be handed over to universities to take control of and manage and yet this is exactly what the MREC plan proposes.
*“Salt River Bay and Watershed (APR) Area of Particular Concern (APC) And Area For Preservation And Restoration (APR): A Comprehensive Analytic Study,” V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management Program, 1993, p.41-45.