14 July 2010

MERC Site - a wider view

It is easy to visit the Salt River Bay in St Croix and see it simply as a great place to park a sailboat, but there is more to it than that.

Seen from a distance, the proposed site for the Marine Education and Research Center is fairly isolated on a peninsula. Stepping back like this makes it seem farily simple, but there is a lot going on in this picture.  You can barely seem the remains of the ruins of the old hotel, even though it still had its tower at the time the photo was taken.

Zoomed out, the site looks pretty lush, but on site you see that the concrete materials from the old resort take up a pretty large area.  The NPS plans to reuse as much of the material as possible.

While the concrete makes an interesting transition along the shore, you can also imagine how this will look when cleaned up and can be used as a place to learn about coastal processes. But, while it looks like a natural beach, the old maps show clearly that this wasn't here a few decades ago. It has been a dynamic place.

Across the bay is the new orientation center for visitors (not yet completed) that towers over the Christopher Columbus Landing site.

The most important photo might this one which looks down from the current entrance to the site, across this scrubby slope, down to the bio-luminescent lagoon, and across to where the old hotel was. It seems likely that the new construction on the site would happen near where the photographer was standing and this would be a few that visiting public, local students, and marine researchers would encounter every day.

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