Update: Hansen Bay Beach Access

Happy Friday everyone! We have some great news to share with all of you today … Public access at Hansen Bay has been restored! Woohoo!

So as you all know, we were pretty upset to see that the beach, which has had public access for what seems like eternity, blocked off a few weeks back. We wrote about it back on March 26 and considering the number of comments it received here and on our Facebook page, it’s pretty safe to say that all of you were upset by it too.

Well I am happy to report that when I drove by Hansen this past weekend, the barbed wire and all but one of the “No Trespassing” signs had been removed. Check it out:

The barbed wire and "No Trespassing" signs in front of the beach have been removed.
The barbed wire and “No Trespassing” signs in front of the beach have been removed.
hansen parking update
The wire that blocked the parking area across the roadway has been removed.
A majority of the mesh and netted fencing has been removed. The structure remains.
A majority of the mesh and netted fencing has been removed. The structure remains.
The beautiful beach.
The beautiful beach.

How this is a great way to start a weekend!

12 thoughts on “Update: Hansen Bay Beach Access”

  1. Did the tax and property division find that the access is truly public? …that the “man from St. Thomas” doesn’t actually OWN that piece of land? …and the barbed wire, fencing and signs were taken down properly? I’m just curious. I wouldn’t want to see a protracted fight from this St. Thomas “person”.

  2. Ok, so I’m taking a leap of faith in humanity here and assuming that “Man From St. Thomas” who owns this property has decided to do the right thing and allow public access to the beach.

    Thank you “Man From St. Thomas!”

  3. Just have to note that one of the oldest laws that we have (passed under the articles of confederation) and affirmed under the Northwest Ordinances, is the US Bulkhead act.

    Although the congress has the right to amend and designate exceptions (and have), unless there is an exception, then NO ONE may be prohibited from any place below the high water mark of any coast or river bank (within a tidal zone). Nor may anyone restrict access to such a zone in the absence of a public access.

    This holds true in every state and territory of the United States without regard to any local ordinances.

    Anyone who arrested for being on the posted beach or accessing the posted beach, could controvert the arrest successfully, and seek damages and court costs from the poster.

  4. Just curious, I noticed the fence is against the road. It is my understanding that there is an 8 foot easment in from the road which is public/town property. This is typically used for road repair, Telephone pole installation, etc. Is this still the case in the USVI?

  5. Gerald Everette, this may be true, but it refers to “tidal zones”. As you have probably observed, the VI tidal zone is a very narrow strip at the edge of the water. The wave action of occasional storms doesn’t count.

    • The “tidal zone” mentioned is for rivers and estuaries. Coastal zones are the high water mark. That will vary from place to place on a given shore line. Point is that legally speaking there is no such thing as a private beach in the US. The reason you see “private beach” is generally because the bulkhead law is not enforced, or because under the current management practice of the US government, states and localities are granted money every year to administer the bulkhead for the US, and the local governments take the money and never enforce anything. Never the less, if you are ever brought to court on charges of trespassing on a “private beach”, you can probably beet the rap if your lawyer is alert and has Lexus/Nexus.

  6. So now it’s OK to trespass across this private property? Do the owners in turn get to waltz into our kitchens to fix a sandwich whenever they please? I’m not so sure this is great news.

    • Intent is 9/10 of the law. If the objective of a person is to enter your home and fix a sandwich without your permission, then that person is on the face of it guilty of breaking and entering. If a person enters on to your land for the purposes of accessing a beach and they can prove that there is no public access, then they are free to cross your land. You owning the land does not give you any and all uses to the land as you might suppose. As an example if you own a home, did you check the easement when you bought it to see if the local utility has the right to tear up your land to fix an underground power cable? Do you know if you own the mineral rights to “your” land? Etc.

  7. Utility easements are just that…easements. My intent to trespass across someone else’s property does not constitute an easement; it constitutes a trespass. There are no easements burdening this man’s property providing public access to the beach. As such, he has every right to take actions to let folks know to “take a hike” somewhere else.

    • Clearly you have your own view of things. I would just suggest that you speak to a lawyer (a real one not one of the local cousin of a cousin down there). You might be shocked with the limits that apply to “private” property.

  8. ***Update***We are very close to Hansen Bay and pass it twice a day. Whoever has been “privatizing” the bay has re-fortified the wire and plastic fencing and added a picnic table. The “No Trespassing ” signs are back up and it is a complete eyesore. This is not someone’s “private kitchen” as the post above suggests, so you can’t compare them. The person who claims ownership should publicly post a copy of the documents of ownership.

  9. We saw the same thing as above poster this past Tuesday. The beach is an eye sore. There was scrap metal and garbage on the beach (probably intentional to keep people away) in addition to the picnic table. There are cots set up in the structure. We thought about snorkeling anyway, but decided against it. We heard from a local that they believe it is a squatter on the land.

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