By Dana Niland
Cinnamon Bay, the campground and resort located on Cinnamon Bay Beach on the island of St. John, has unveiled a 10-year environmental plan for the property’s future.
With a system of environmental initiatives newly in place, and with more in the works, Cinnamon Bay says it is committed to ensuring that future generations can enjoy its natural beauty and that of neighboring Trunk Bay.
“We believe that operating with a light environmental footprint is essential to protecting Virgin Islands National Park,” said Cinnamon Bay General Manager Charles Willis. “Recognizing our company’s role as stewards in the Park, we are committed to continual environmental progress.”
Cinnamon Bay’s 10-year environmental goals revolve around three priorities: to protect the beach, water quality and local coral reefs; to reduce their carbon footprint; and to reduce solid waste.
Initiatives addressing the first of these goals have already begun, including a “Leave-No-Trace” campaign.
The property also sells reef-healthy sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone, a chemical which causes reef bleaching and damages ocean ecosystems.
To reduce the property’s carbon footprint, Cinnamon Bay has replaced all incandescent lights with LED light across the resort, and buys EnergyStar rated equipment, which is proven to use less energy than federal standards require.
The resort works with Gift Hill School, a local school in Cruz Bay, to produce compost for community gardens.
Acknowledging the importance of education in achieving environmental goals, Cinnamon Bay hosts a weekly guest speaker series focused on coral reef protection, biodiversity, ecological preservation and island wildlife.
To reduce solid waste, the resort has enacted several initiatives including a ban of Styrofoam at Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay.
The restaurants on property use biodegradable to-go containers and serve beer only on-tap which eliminates thousands of pounds of glass which is not recyclable on St. John.
“Each year we will measure our environmental progress and compare it to our year one benchmark,” said Willis. “In the coming years we have plans to implement new initiatives which will go even further to lessen our environmental footprint.”
Environmental plans for the coming years include offering reduced rates and preferred booking to college groups hosting biology and environmental studies field trips at Cinnamon Bay.
The resort also plans to install hydration stations in public areas, encourage reusable water bottles and generate more than 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy such as solar photovoltaic panels.