“[p] reserve what has been a tradition and protect what has become a right of the public by ensuring that the public, individually and collectively, has and shall continue to have the right to use and enjoy the shorelines and to maximize public access to and along the shorelines…”
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.
Public Beach Access
Major CZM permit applications require project designers to allow for appropriate public access to beaches.
This development plan shows two proposed beach access easements.
Public access locations and associated parking lots are input into GIS system to create maps for distribution.
Public Access Signage
Signs must be placed to clearly show allowed public access and parking