The Virgin Islands National Park

In 1956, the Fund gave $1 million to Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., for the development of a large tract on the Island of St. John in the American Virgin Islands for national park purposes. RBF trustee Laurance Rockefeller already owned the Caneel Bay Estate on the island, where he had built an ecologically friendly commercial resort, and he sought to expand environmental preservation on St. John. The Fund’s support for the Park was inspired by the Rockefeller family’s similar activities in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and enacted through Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., an organization founded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to be the administrative vehicle for a wide range of large-scale conservation projects. The Virgin Islands National Park opened on December 1, 1956, becoming the 29th site in the national park system. In 1960, Laurance donated the Caneel Bay Resort to Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., doubling the Park’s size. In 1976, the Park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve.

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