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    Salt River Bay

    National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve Virgin Islands

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  • Salt River Bay NHP&EP Visitor Contact Station Closed until November 2014

    The Visitor Contact Station at Salt River Bay is currently closed until we reopen on November 14, 2014. Based on staff availability we can open by appointment, or reserve for specific function. Call 340-773-1460 for more information

History & Culture

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve was created in 1992 as part of the National Park System. The National Park Service and the Government of the United States Virgin Islands jointly manage this 1,015-acre park. The area’s blend of sea and land holds some of the largest remaining mangrove forests in the Virgin Islands, as well as coral reefs and a submarine canyon. Salt River Bay’s natural history, its vitally important ecosystem of mangroves, estuary, coral reefs, and submarine canyon, has witnessed thousands of years of human endeavor. Every major period of human habitation in the Virgin Islands is represented: several South American Indian cultures, the 1493 encounter with Columbus, Spanish extermination of the Caribs, attempts at colonization by a succession of European nations, and enslaved West Africans and their descendants. More than a dozen major archeological investigations since 1880, together with historical research, reveal this remarkable story. Few places engage the imagination so completely, drawing visitors into the spirit of the place and its beauty and sanctity.

Did You Know?

park map showing Fort Flamand's location

The only surviving structural evidence of this turbulent period in Virgin Island history is the triangular earthwork fortification at Salt River. The French referred to it initially as Fort Flamand (‘the Flemish Fort”) and later as Fort Sales. This is the oldest fort in North America.