In the wake of heavy rains last fall, Maho Bay Beach, above, was particularly impacted in areas where cars park on the beach and disrupt tree roots.
By Christy McManus
Special to St. John Tradewinds
Is Maho Bay your favorite beach?
Please protect Maho Bay by not parking on the beach side.
Seven years ago it was difficult to find anyone who parked on the beach side of North Shore Road near the popular beach. Cars were always tucked into the off-shore side of the roadway. While that might not have been ideal, it did not destroy the beach.
Now rental cars and local vehicles are frequently seen parked on the beach side. Why is this an issue?
It damages the roots of the trees which are the only things holding the beach and the road together. In the wake of Hurricane Otto and the rains that followed, most of the roadway and all of the beach in sections of Maho Bay were washed away.
Which areas were most affected?
Yes, that’s right — exactly where people pull off to park, and damage the tree roots, is where the beach was completely lost. Where there are gaps between the trees is just where the beach was washed out leaving three foot drops in some areas. In other areas, the rain washed away even the roadway.
The areas where people have parked close to the trees for the last several years, the waves washed around leaving a little island of a tree but taking out all of the beach sand and even some of the road. And the erosion is certain to get worse during the upcoming hurricane season.
With the increase of storms, and rains heavier then the island has ever experienced, it is up to residents to protect and improve the beach’s own protection systems, not damage them further.
Please do not park on the beach side of North Shore Road at Maho Bay. If there is not parking on the opposite side of the road, move to another beach. Every car which parks on the roots of the existing trees puts this precious beach at ever greater risk.