Management Plan for the Emilio Wilson Estate

Program
The Establishment of a Terrestrial Protected Area on Sint Maarten: Establishing the Emilio Wilson Estate property as a Natural, Cultural and Historical Park for the benefit of present and future generations.

Short description of project
Sint Maarten’s coastal as well as inland areas are rapidly being cleared of vegetation to make room for residential and commercial development. This has led to serious loss of habitat throughout the entire island.

The Emilio Wilson Estate Foundation (EWEF) intends to establish the Emilio Wilson Estate as a Terrestrial Protected Area (TPA) and to manage it as such in order to contribute to preserving the island’s various species of flora and fauna.

It is for this reason that the EWEF sees the need for the creation of a dynamic Management Plan with the objective of protecting the Emilio Wilson Estate’s resources while providing for meaningful visitor experiences and creating a situation of financial sustainability.

The Management Plan is also intended to facilitate the EWEF in its quest to purchase/ obtain the Emilio Wilson Estate.

Project objectives
A Management Plan with the objective of protecting the Emilio Wilson Estate’s resources while providing for meaningful visitor experiences and creating a situation of financial sustainability.

The Management Plan will be aimed at the protection, conservation and preservation of the entire Emilio Wilson Estate and all associated man-made as well as natural monuments in order to maintain the integrity of Sint Maarten’s history, culture and natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.


Importance of project for nature conservation in the Netherlands Antilles
The 10 Year Management Plan will set out the management goals and approach, together with a framework for decision making, to apply in the Emilio Wilson Estate (TPA) over a given period of time, it will therefore form an essential step towards ensuring the proper management of the Estate.

This Terrestrial Protected Area management Plan will be the first of its kind for the Island of St. Maarten, it can therefore serve as a model for future plans and can be replicated for other Protected Areas.

The higher objective to which this project contributes is the preservation of terrestrial areas with a high ecological value on St. Maarten, for the benefit of present and future generations.

Project background and rationale

The initiative for the establishment of Terrestrial Protected Area’s in St. Maarten is far from new; researchers and organizations have advocated the setting aside of areas on the island as protected reserves since the early 1950s. The many proposals for the establishment of a protected area have thus far remained unsuccessful due to a strong private land ownership culture, lack of government owned land and the absence of zoning and conservation plans and legislation. The initiative for the establishment of the EWE as a protected area differs from aforementioned efforts as it has gained overwhelming and unprecedented public, government and international support.

Studies such as The Biological Inventory of Sint Maarten (Anna Rojer, 1997), The Zoning plan for the Hillside-area of Sint Maarten (Ecovison, AIDEnvironment, 1996), Nature Parks Sint Maarten, 1996 and other reports have indicated that the hillsides in the Dutch Cul de Sac area (St. Peter’s Hill, Sentry Hill, Flagstaff and Waymouth Hill) areas are of considerable value to Sint Maarten’s natural environment and should be protected. The Emilio Wilson Estate is situated on the aforementioned Sentry Hill Hillside.

The residents of the Dutch Caribbean, as well as the islands’ visitors, are becoming increasingly concerned with environmental protection. While in the past, caring for the islands’ natural resources was not a priority; the last few years have seen a rising awareness within the community as well as with visitors with regards to conservation efforts.

St. Maarten is the only island within the Dutch Caribbean that does not yet have a Terrestrial Protected Area (TPA).

Establishing the Emilio Wilson Estate as a Terrestrial Protected Area is one of the EWEF’s main goals. The Foundation believes that the establishment of a terrestrial park, nature reserve or protected area is an important catalyst in creating public awareness as well as involvement and will lead to increased consciousness and understanding of how people can contribute to species survival.