Home News Local news Park Rangers Now Issuing Parking Tickets Near Maho Bay Beach

Park Rangers Now Issuing Parking Tickets Near Maho Bay Beach

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Jan. 23, 2007 — St. John resident Phyllis Benton was enjoying her Sunday afternoon with friends at Maho Bay Beach when, much to her surprise, she learned that a V.I. National Park ranger was slapping tow tickets on cars parked along the narrow North Shore Road that runs between the beach and the bush.
"It was where you had been able to park days before," she said Tuesday.
She was particularly irked that the ranger didn't give beachgoers any notice that their cars were parked in the wrong spot. Benton pointed out that there are no signs prohibiting parking.
"We're trying to avoid having signs," the park's chief ranger, Mark Marschall, said Tuesday.
On a normal day, beachgoers are able to park in a handful of pullouts located on the inland side of the road and in official paved parking spaces near the beach's pavilion.
Maho Bay, as well as other North Shore beaches, were packed Sunday afternoon. Benton said she thinks Sunday's parking problem will continue until the winter season ends in several months.
Florida resident Gale Spring, who has a house on St. John, said it appeared there was a party at a house located across from the beach. She said a lot of the cars parked along the road belonged to people attending the party.
She said the parking problems at North Shore beaches are indicative of St. John's overall parking problems.
"You can't find a place to park anywhere in town," she said, referring to Cruz Bay.
Spring said she had trouble finding a place to park a few days before at Cinnamon Bay Beach.
According to Marschall, the ranger was just enforcing regulations that are already in place. "It's not anything new," Marschall said, adding that most people got warnings rather than tickets.
Marschall suggested that people take a taxi to Maho Bay rather than try to find a space for their cars.
However, Benton said that it's just about impossible to get a taxi anywhere from Coral Bay, where she lives.
Marschall said the park plans to add five additional spaces to a handful of official parking spaces located near the beach's pavilion.
He said that people who park in other spaces can cause damage to the trees.
Marschall said that eventually the park plans to further improve parking, but that will have to wait until the park, the Trust for Public Land and a Marsh family heir sort out who gets what land in the acreage located across from the beach.
The land is divided into 11 shares. The trust owns seven shares, the park, three shares and the Marsh family heir, one.
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