Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
Map showing the location of Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Location St. Croix, Virgin Islands, USA
Nearest city Christiansted, Virgin Islands
Coordinates 17°46′44″N 64°45′32″W / 17.77889°N 64.75889°W / 17.77889; -64.75889Coordinates: 17°46′44″N 64°45′32″W / 17.77889°N 64.75889°W / 17.77889; -64.75889
Area 945.77 acres (3.83 km2)
Established February 24, 1992
Governing body National Park Service &
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov't
Historical marker

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve on the Virgin Island of St. Croix, contains the only known site where members of a Columbus expedition set foot on what is now United States territory. It also preserves upland watersheds, mangrove forests, and estuarine and marine environments that support threatened and endangered species. The site is marked by Fort Salé, a remaining earthworks fortification from the French period of occupation, about 1617. The park also preserves prehistoric and colonial-era archeological sites including the only existent example of a ball court in the Caribbean.

Overview of Salt River Bay and Landing Site

The area's blend of sea and land holds some of the largest remaining mangrove forests in the Virgin Islands, as well as coral reefs and a submarine canyon. Salt River Bay's natural history, its vitally important ecosystem of mangroves, estuary, coral reefs, and submarine canyon, has witnessed thousands of years of human endeavor. Every major period of human habitation in the Virgin Islands is represented: several South American Indian cultures, the 1493 encounter with Columbus, Spanish extermination of the Caribs, attempts at colonization by a succession of European nations, and enslaved West Africans and their descendants. More than a dozen major archeological investigations since 1880, together with historical research, reveal a remarkable story.

On February 24, 1992 Congress created the park, under cooperative management of the National Park Service and Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States jointly manage this park. As an historic area of the National Park Service, the park was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the same day. The Columbus landing site had already been designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960.[1]

References

  1. ^ "Columbus Landing Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=557&ResourceType=Site. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 

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