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Nature Foundation St. Maarten

- SXM Nature Conservation Newsletter
- November, 1997
- Volume 1. Issue 1

The Foundation and the National Parks

January 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:

The 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 future.

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 organization.

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. Maarten.

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 work!!!


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 Newsletter
- November, 1997
- Volume 1. Issue 1


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