|Wednesday, Jun 23, 2010|
Spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea from Virgin Islands National Park will remain unspoiled thanks to the generous donation of a 2.2-acre oceanfront parcel to The Trust for Public Land (TPL).
Located on Nanny Point on the southeast coast of the island of St. John, the site was owned by Stanley Selengut, owner of Maho Bay Campground and Estate Concordia. Selengut donated the $2 million site to TPL, which in turn donated the property to the National Park Service. This area is now included in the national park.
"The views from the point are simply stunning," said John Garrison, TPL's project manager in the US Virgin Islands. "It was incredibly generous of Mr. Selengut to donate a site that could easily have been developed with high-end villas. We were thrilled to work with him to preserve this very special place."
Selengut, who just turned 80, is regarded as one of the fathers of "ecotourism." He is the founder and owner of four eco-friendly beach resorts on the island of St. John, and a partner with the National Park Service in developing models and designs for ecotourist resorts.
"I've been in the business for a long time and this is the most beautiful piece of real estate I've ever owned," Selengut said. "One of the things that makes land super precious is preservation of the viewshed. The views from the hillside are incredible- you look down and see Nanny Point, and look out and see the British Virgin Islands. It's a totally unobstructed view."
The site is directly adjacent to Virgin Islands National Park. The park service has recently completed the process to expand the boundary of the park to include the property, which will be used as a scenic overlook.
"Virgin Islands National Park was created by Congress in 1956 for its outstanding scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage. I can think of no better gift to the American people than Mr. Stanley Selengut's gift of Nanny Point to the Trust for Public Land," said Mark Hardgrove, superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park. "This 2.2 acre site is the home of some of the most breathtaking scenic views and important native vegetation on St. John. On behalf of the National Park Service I would like to thank Mr. Selengut and the Trust for Public Land for the important role they both continue to play in the Virgin Islands."
Besides its outstanding views, Nanny Point is known for its unusual vegetation.
"This acquisition will protect part of a newly discovered population of Solanum conocarpum, an extremely rare and endangered plant which has been proposed for listing on St. John," said Rafe Boulon, chief of resource management for the park. "The parcel also contains great examples of an uncommon dry cactus community that is very rare for the V.I. National Park."
The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Working in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1999, TPL has conserved eight sites on the three islands, including the majority of Estate Maho Bay on St. John, three additions to the Salt River Bay National Park and Ecological Preserve on St. Croix, and a renovation of a downtown park on St. Thomas. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.