May 15, 2009 — Stellar views from the southeast reaches of V.I. National Park will be preserved once a 2.2-acre donation of oceanfront land by Maho Bay Camps owner Stanley Selengut is finalized. Selengut also owns Concordia Eco-tents and Studios, located near the donated land. The donated 2.2 acres are adjacent to the park boundaries.
The donation, valued at $2 million, is being funneled through the Trust for Public Land, which will turn the land over to the national park.
"The views from the point are simply stunning," John Garrison, the Trust's project manager in the Virgin Islands, said. "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, 80, called the property "the most beautiful piece of real estate" he's ever owned.
"One of the things that makes the 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," Selengut said in a press release issued Friday.
The property is also home to a recently discovered patch of Solanum conocarpum, a plant that's been proposed for listing on the federal Endangered Species List and is native to St. John. According to the Center for Biodiversity's website, there are only about 220 plants of this species on St. John.
"The parcel also contains great examples of an uncommon dry cactus community that is very rare for the V.I. National Park," Rafe Boulon, the park's chief of resource management, said in the press release.
Boulon was out of the office for the day and could not be reached for further comment.
According to the press release, the park service has already begun the process to expand the boundary of the park to include the property, which will be used as a scenic overlook. Garrison said that the deal has been in the works for several months.
"And it will be several more months before it's finished," he said, taking the call as he was boarding a plane.
It will take administrative action on the park of the National Park Service to expand the park's boundaries, Garrison said.
The Trust conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Working in the Virgin Islands since 1999, the Trust 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.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.