Edward O’Neil wrote in a book about the U.S. Virgin Islands that:
“Lindquist’s Beach on St. Thomas’s north shore, a favorite spot with the island-born for group picnics, is what residents say the Virgin Islands were like twenty years ago. You reach it by a sandy track that runs about 300 yards off Red Hook Road to Smith’s Bay. The facilities are rudimentary: a couple of ramshackle, unpainted buildings and a tin-roofed open dance floor of concrete shaded by a thick grove of jungly trees. Sea grape grows along the beach, here and there the twisted roots reaching to the high-tide mark.” He goes on to say: “Lindquist’s is old-fashioned tropics, the kind that used to be.“
Mr. O’Neil’s book was written in 1972. The description of Lindquist however, could very well have been written much more recently!
Lindquist, or Lindqvist, is one of the most beautiful beaches on St. Thomas. With that in mind you might be asking; “How did it remain undeveloped over the decades while other beaches saw the construction of beach resorts?”. The answer is not because Lindquist quietly remained out of the radar of developers, quite the contrary. The land around Lindquist has been sought after for years. The plans were typically met with opposition by residents, environmental groups and/or government officials.
Many local newspaper headlines were made over the years regarding Lindquist. They were made when the land changed hands, when applications for development projects were submitted, when groups petitioned against development, when fences were erected preventing public access, when law suits were filed, when the government tried to acquire the property and when they finally did!
The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands purchased 21 acres of beachfront property around Lindquist in late 2006 for $8.9 million with the goal of making the area a park. The Magens Bay Authority, which manages Magens Bay, was selected to run the park which was named Smith Bay Park.
Smith Bay Park includes Lindquist Beach in addition to both coastal and marine ecosystems of significant beauty and importance. These areas are home to an assortment of plants, land animals, birds and marine life.
In the 10 years since the property was purchased and set aside as a park, plans for including facilities and amenities were carefully discussed and implemented.
While Lindquist Beach remains pretty close to what Mr. O’Neil described in his book back in 1972 as far as old fashioned tropics and popularity for gatherings, there have been changes. The former ramshackle buildings have been replaced with two well-constructed and maintained sheds, restrooms were added and the former dirt road is now nicely paved along with a parking area. Smith Bay Park under the management of Magens Bay Authority will see the efforts continue to preserve this area of great beauty and ecological importance for residents and visitors, while providing amenities.
Lindquist Beach: Lindquist is beautiful. The beach includes the popular swimming and sunning area, known for calm, terrifically blue water. And heading west the swimming area gives way to another area of the beach, a very shallow shelf that extends for the remainder of the bay. The shore is covered in bright white sand with a faint touch of pink. The sand is soft and perfect for a game of Frisbee, building sand castles, strolling along the shore or just sitting back and enjoying the fantastic view of St. John and the British Virgin Islands. Looking for a little shade while hanging out on the shore? The right side has a coconut grove and the left side sea grape trees; both tree lines provide natural shade. The middle area has little shade as the tree line is mostly low lying brush.
If you do decide to stroll along the shore and check out that shallow shelf keep an eye out for various crabs, snails, juvenile fish and wading birds. These animals live in and feed in the important seagrass habitat that exists over most of the shallow shelf. It is not possible to swim in this area, the water is very shallow, perhaps 6 inches to a foot for most of the way and it is largely a rough rocky surface with some patches of sand. The shelf meanders in width along the shore but for a large part extends maybe 100-120 feet out to the ocean. Help protect the seagrass beds and marine life dependent on them by remaining on and observing from the shore.
Smith Bay Park/Lindquist Beach is located on the east end of St. Thomas, off of Smith Bay Road. It is a short distance from Red Hook. Look for the sign “Smith Bay Park”. An entrance fee is collected: $2 for Residents with id; $4 for Non-Residents; $2 for Car Parking; Children 13 and under are free. *The non-resident rate will be $5 after February 1st, 2016.
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