Buck Island Reef National Monument: A visit to Buck Island, located just offshore on the northeast coast by sailboat or power boat, is a "must" for St. Croix visitors. This 176-acre, uninhabited island, with its surrounding coral reef ecosystem, provides nesting sites for endangered species like hawksbill turtles and brown pelicans. Buck Island's national monument status was established by President John F. Kennedy's Presidential proclamation in 1961 and expanded by President Bill Clinton in 2001. The U.S. National Park Service oversees it.
The Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve: In addition to significant historic sites here, you'll find mangrove forests, coral reefs, and a submarine canyon. Explore the area by kayak or by scuba diving. Jointly-managed by the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, this 1,015-acre park is composed of both land and sea.
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge: This 380-acre refuge near Frederiksted, with two miles of continuous sandy beach, is also preserved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It contains pre-historic archaeological sites and a nesting habitat for leatherback sea turtles-the largest nesting population under U.S. jurisdiction. Hawksbill and green turtles nest here, too, along with resident and migratory birds. Enjoy the dazzling white beach on weekends only-and during summer nesting season, it is closed to the public.
Southgate Coastal Reserve: Through gifts by an anonymous donor in 1999 and 2000 to the St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA), this 100-acre preserve on the north shore along the east end road includes a coastal salt pond, mangrove forest, beach forest and upland grassland. Endangered sea turtles nest on the beach and the pond is a favorite spot for bird watchers-both for local species and for water birds that come for the winter. SEA is developing plans for a visitor's interpretive center and environmental education facility, bird blinds, trails, and parking facilities. Escorted hikes are available.
Jack's and Isaac's Bay: The Nature Conservancy owns and manages more than 300 acres on the far east end as a nature preserve and habitat for migrating birds and endangered green and hawksbill turtles, where rugged hiking trails lead from the road down to undeveloped natural beaches. Guided hikes are available.
East End Marine Park: This 60-square mile water park was established by the Government of the United States Virgin Islands in 2003 to protect and manage the cultural and natural resources of the area around the eastern point's coastline out to the three-mile limit.
St. George Village Botanical Garden: The mission of this nonprofit group that manages a 16-acre park set in 18th century plantation ruins is conservation and preservation of both the historical and living collections on its grounds. The garden conserves approximately 50 native plant species of St. Croix, plus threatened species of other Caribbean islands suited to local environmental conditions.
Estate Little Princess: Mid island on the north coast, the Nature Conservancy bases its headquarters for the Virgin Islands and Eastern Caribbean at the 25-acre Estate Little Princess, established in 1749 as a sugar plantation. A Danish great house from the 1830s houses a program office, and the estate showcases green technologies like solar power, gray water systems, solar water-heating and constructed wetlands for sewage treatment.
Bethlehem Sugar Factory: A project currently under development by St. Croix Farmers in Action, Inc. is a 22-acre site aimed at revitalizing the agricultural industry on St. Croix by creating an agro-tourism destination to be designed around agricultural history and culture. The property is the old Bethlehem Sugar Factory and its surrounding ruins in Bethlehem Estate.
Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge: The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is preserving this close-by island in northeast waters, now closed to the public, as a fragile habitat for the remaining population of the endangered St. Croix Ground Lizard.
Turtle Nesting Sightseeing
Leatherback turtles, the largest of all turtles and endangered throughout the United States have a nesting place in St. Croix. The nesting site is located on the western end of St. Croix and occures at night . Nesting can be found at the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (call for tour information).