Nature Foundation St. Maarten
- SXM Nature Conservation Newsletter
- November, 1997
- Volume 1. Issue 1
The Foundation and the National Parks
13, 1997: the Foundation for the Management and Conservation of
Nature on Saint Maarten (the Nature Foundation Saint Maarten) has
been established. The purpose of the Foundation is to manage the
natural areas and make them accessible to the general public. To
start with, the Foundation will focus on the establishment of two
nature parks. The first nature park, a marine park, concerns the
coastal waters and at certain locations also the adjacent coastlines,
starting at Oyster Bay and all the way up to Cupecoy Beach.
Initially, we will first concentrate on some
of the areas that are most important for our underwater environment,
namely from Oyster pond to Point Blanche.
The Purpose of the Nature Parks:
Foundation wants to protect St. Maarten's natural parks in a durable
manner, establishing proper management, restoring nature at locations
where it has been damaged (for example by excavations), maintaining
the natural resources of these relatively large areas and educating
students, general public and tourism about the parks.
All of this will be done to protect nature, but
also to strengthen its economical and educational significance.
The foundation will get in contact with all groups involved in
this area, such as diving schools, Harbor Industry (the St. Maarten
Port Authorities), the fishermen, the Hotel Association, Tourist
Offices and others. The purpose is for everyone to profit from
it: nature, the ones that retrieve their income from nature, the
inhabitants and tourists who visit the island and the educational
system that can educate their students about the precious environments
of St. Maarten.
Support of the World Wildlife fund for
the Marine Park:
The World Wildlife Fund has financially supported
the start-up of the Marine Park for the period of three years.
They have started a campaign throughout the Netherlands Antilles,
with which various projects will be sponsored. This means that
a park manager has been hired and next to that a (part-time) director.
An office has been rented: situated at the Great Bay Marina, Unit
#3. We will be able to buy a boat and a pick-up truck in the near
The Foundation will start working on the Marine
Park immediately. In principle the beaches, the adjacent sea, a
few ponds and most of the characteristic rocky coasts, are all
part of the Marine Park. However, most of the coastal area is private
property, so the Foundation can only offer management of the area,
by means of contracts. With the establishment of a nature park,
more people can be introduced to the interesting nature areas without
these being negatively affected by it. This is where the back-up
of the Saint Maarten Government is needed, since it is essential
to have the legal support to have a successful Foundation.
One of the action points for the Marine Park
will be the non-anchoring of boats in certain designated areas.
In principle no boats should anchor in the Marine Park with their
own anchors, because this causes damage to the marine environment.
Moorings will be supplied for boats to anchor. Furthermore it is
interesting to educate divers, in cooperation with the diving schools,
about marine life and how to behave in this beautiful, but fragile
environment. Publicity and education have a high priority in our
The Hillside Nature Park:
Attention will also be paid to the hills, which,
of course are not owned by the Foundation. The purpose of the park
as memtioned before, is to make the hills accessible for the general
public and to protect the natural beauty of the area. The Foundation
hopes that the Island Government will allow the Foundation to supervise
the governmental areas in the hillside-region of Cul-De-Sac. It
will be a challenge to restore the damages in the hillsides caused
by excavations and such. Presently these are scars which mark the
hills. It would be of great value for the island when the historical
sites like Emilio's Estate and Mary's Fancy, can be protected and
preserved. For instance, it would be possible to start a botanical
garden over the areas to restore the local flora and fauna of St.
We are looking forward to make this Foundation
a success with the help of the local government, as well as the
local public. The more people support the idea, the better it will
Since the Nature Foundation St. Maarten does
not have a continuous flow of income for the time being, we are
very grateful to the World Wildlife Fund Holland, and the Knap
Fonds Netherlands Antilles for their generous subsidies which has
enabled us to start our activities. Additional funds have also
been received from the Lt. Governor's First Annual Charity Golf
Tournament, which was held in October 1997.
The Nature Foundation St. Maarten is also very
grateful to the St. Maarten Heritage Foundation and Elsje Wilson
for their help and support. The Nature Foundation will be joining
forces with the SXM Heritage Foundation, in the production of an
educational project directed at the primary and secondary schools
of St. Maarten. This project will begin at the schools, concentrating
on the local environment, conservation and preservation.
In the months to follow, the schools will be
contracted and a curriculum will be based on the materials available,
and the input from the schools.
As the Nature Foundation St. Maarten moves forward
in the preparation of the Marine Park, we are asking for any interested
persons, organizations or schools to get in contact with us, and
express their ideas and suggestions. Every month we will be handing
out the Nature Conservation Newsletter, and we would be very grateful
if we can hear from you, being it an article of interest, comments,
or if you just want to express yourself, we encourage you to write
to us or call us at 20267/fax 20268. We will gladly print your
article in the newsletter as long as it pertains to the nature
parks. Hope to hear from you soon.
- SXM Nature Conservation
- November, 1997
- Volume 1. Issue 1