How you can save Maho Bay

Maho

The Trust for Public Land is asking for donations to help acquire the Maho Bay Camps real estate.  While the Trust has been in negotiations with owners of the land who lease it to the Camps, the Trust doesn’t yet have all the funds that will  be needed. The land is already on the market.

Stanley Selengut, the genius/entrepreneur/good green guy who created the Camps has told Conde Nast Traveler that when the lease expires in 2012, “One of three things will happen: A developer will subdivide his Shangri-la, or a luxury hotel chain will drop anchor there, or a deus ex machina—a land trust or an Oprah—will step forward with cash in hand to buy and then donate the land to the national park.”

The Trust for Public Land hopes the third option will occur.  John Garrison, the local field office director for TPL, said the fund he wants to create will be used for land appraisals as well a purchase.  He told the Virgin Islands Daily News, “There’s no guarantees, but we’ll give it our best shot.”

To contribute, send checks to TPL’s Maho Bay Campaign, 116 Montgomery St., 4th floor, San Francisco, Ca. 94105.

6 thoughts on “How you can save Maho Bay”

  1. Some questions: Who currently owns the land and holds the lease? What is the owner’s position on selling or leasing again? Is the land within, or just surrounded by the National Park? What is the current land value and when was it last appraised or what is the current tax appraisal?
    Just wondering before commiting.

  2. I don’t know the answers to the above questions but I do know that TPL is an honorable institution with a great track record. Not only here in the states but on St. John. They’re the ones that kept big Maho Bay from being sold off by the 11 parcel owners to a develop who wanted to put some kind of Institute and a dock in Maho, remember?
    If they can’t raise all the money necessary, I would imagine that they would use what they have to buy as much as they can of it (or some equally beautiful place elsewhere that’s in danger of development).
    I agree re: Stanley. If he’s such a pioneer of retaining ecological balance and beauty, you’d think he would at least be working with TPL & Friends of the VINP to work out a reasonable solution to transfer the land in such a way as to retain its public access and natural beauty.

  3. Here’s a bit more info here about it:
    http://www.americanwaymag.com/maho-bay-camps-stanley-selengut-trust-for-public-land-new-k
    In very short: Maho Bay Camps is private land within the park. After 37 years of leasing to Maho, landowners want to sell (I’m assuming the owners are multiple parties, as with Maho Estate). Asking price is around $32,000,000 — far more than an investor would spend to run the land as a campground.
    Best case: TPL purchases the land, donates to park, park hires Maho Bay Camps to run as a concession (or some arrangement).
    Stanley IS working with TPL! That’s why you’re hearing about this now. 🙂

  4. Rather: BEST Case would be: TPL purchases land, creates a non-profit 3rd party trust (so revenues stay within St John instead of to the Federal Gov) while the Maho Camps continue to lease from the trust.

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