Ditleff Point Morning, St. John US Virgin islands

overview of Ditleff Point from the development road
overview of Ditleff Point from the development road

Ditleff Point
Yesterday I was out early in the morning checking out the south side for some photos and when I came to Ditleff Point I noticed that although the gate controlling the vehicle traffic was closed a walk through gate remained open. Taking advantage of this access were dog walkers and joggers all of whom were familiar to me.

Passing through the open gate, I began to walk down the now bulldozed and paved road, which not long ago was a rugged dirt track. Along the way I met Miles Stair of  Holiday Homes fame. He slowed his pace and waled with me.

a squall blows in from the east
a squall blows in from the east

On our way back to the main road a squall blew in from the east. The mist from the squall produced a beautiful rainbow that arched over the Point from east to west. I’m excited to come back here, shoot some photos, and take a few jogs, before, and hopefully this never happens, that access is closed off to St. John residents and visitors.

Gated Community
Gated Community

About Beach Access
“…While the coastlines and beaches of of the Virgin Islands are public domain the question of access has nor been formalized. In most jurisdictions which have public beach access laws the owners of properties adjacent to beaches are required to provide public access through the land. Here in the Virgin islands developers and landowners have taken the position that access is only necessary via the sea and providing land access is optional. This interpretation is not always so. For example, the Pond Bay Club on Chocolate Hole was required to provide land access to the beach, Ditleff point apparently not as the gate suggests.

“Historically, land access to Ditleff Point goes back to the first inhabitants of indigenous peoples who had a settlement there some two thousand years ago.

Poor whites abnd freed slaves lived there during colonial times. During substance farming days, a family lived in a house whose foundation still exists, lying just inland from the southern end of the beach.

After that Ditleff Beach was used primarily as access to the sea for fishing and the gathering of whelk and conch as well as recreationally for swimming, snorkeling, diving and fishing. Original trails were replaced by a bulldozed road when a group of mainlanders purchased the point declaring that they had no intention of developing it. For many years St. Johnians and visitors used this road as access to the beaches. When the mainlanders passed away and the property passed to their heirs, the land was cut up into parcels, developed and put on the market, with a gate at the entrance to control access.

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11 thoughts on “Ditleff Point Morning, St. John US Virgin islands”

  1. Pingback: Where can I find Helicopter Pilot Jobs in the U.S. Virgin Islands? | New York Helicopter
  2. Is there any way to get to the beach on a Ditleff point by land around the gatehouse for a snorkeling?

  3. Thank you Gerald. If I remember correctly there is a beach access at the end of Klein Bay Drive?

  4. As a homeowner on Ditleff Point, I personally also do not object to folks jogging and walking their dogs along the Ditleff Point road, which I must remind you, that we as homeowners, not the government, paid for and maintain. However, the attitude that “we have always used this private land and therefore we are always entitled to use the land” is disappointing.
    As far as the original intention for Ditleff Point, I would have to assume that if Mr. Rockefeller never intended Ditleff Point to be developed, like the several thousand acres he donated to the Virgin Islands National Park, then he would not have sold it, and private individuals would not have paid good money for it. In anticipation of Ditleff Point being developed, Mr. Rockefeller, in fact, imposed carefully thought out Development Guidelines which must be and in fact are being adhered to.

  5. I sincerely believe that access to the beaches of the Virgin Islands should be open to the public.

  6. I realize the most recent post is almost a year old, but I see this site is hosted by Gerald Singer, so I thought I would see if a new comment might at least momentarily raise the access question again, since I can’t seem to find a definitive answer so far in my searches. Simply put, do the old trails that led down to Ditleff Beach still exist and are non-Ditleff-residents allowed to come in through the pedestrian access gate and use those trails? Mr. Singer, my wife and I still have our 1994 copy of The St. John Beach Guide; it is what first took us to Ditleff, and so many of the other beaches on the island. It’s a real treat to be able to leave a comment for you. Can you answer my question? Thanks!

  7. Your Right to Enjoy Virgin Islands Beaches

    In 1978 Virgin Islands passed an important new law, the Coastal Zone Management Act, to protect and preserve the coastal areas of the Territory and to preserve the tradition of the public access to the Territory’s shorelines.

    Today, the goals that were set still stand as one of the best ways we have of passing that Virgin Islands heritage-beach access on to future generations.

    Access to cultural, historical and natural areas along the coast is essential to public understanding and enjoyment of coastal and marine resources. Of course, the public should use the territory’s beaches in ways that would not degrade or damage these valuable resources.

    The CZM Program, through its permitting process, does not allow commercial building on the Territory’s shorelines without first securing an easement for public access to the shorelines. Beaches cannot be fenced off. The public has the right to be on the beach, enjoy them and use them for recreational purposes.

    If you have been denied your right to be on a beach in the US Virgin Islands, please contact the Division of Coastal Zone Management and report the incident.


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