Well folks, it looks like we all just lost access to another great snorkel and dive spot.
We heard rumblings a few weeks ago about Kiddel Bay and that access to it had been blocked off. Apparently a property owner out there no longer wants people to access the beach, specifically commercial business operators like dive groups, etc.
So I know many of you might be thinking, well the beaches are public, right? Well yes and no. This is my understanding: The Open Shorelines Act says that the shorelines in the USVI are defined as being the area from the low tide line inland for 50 feet or to the first line of natural vegetation. The Act allows the public to use this area. It also prohibits landowners from blocking access to these areas. It does not, however, grant the public the right to cross private property in order to access that defined public area. We don’t know all of the details, but that seems to be the case here.
We’re going to do some more digging on this, and we’ll keep you all posted. In the meantime, if anyone has additional information, please feel free to chime in.