The Northeast

The northeast portion of St. Martin is a hilly lobe, separated from the central mountains by a lowland area stretching between Grand Case and French Cul-de-Sac. If the water level were a little higher, the sea would run from Grand Case through the airport and Étang Chevrise creating a little island. On the eastern side, there’s the wilderness area that wraps around from the dump to Anse Marcel, featuring the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline on the island. The interior of that area is also mostly undeveloped, although Cul-de-Sac is expanding in that direction.

Moving westward, the majority of the area is undeveloped, but used as pasture for goats and cattle. The most heavily grazed areas are fields of stones and ankle-high grass with very little wildlife. Other areas are more of a scrubland with taller grass and shrubs. Some of the hilltops are forested, particularly the hills leading out to Bell Point. It can be interesting to see the stark differences in the landscape when crossing through this area, each fence marking a transition from pasture to scrub to forest and back again.

A look at older photos shows that there is actually considerably more vegetation here now than there was fifty or one hundred years ago. The shift in the local economy from agriculture to tourism has presumably reduced the amount of land used for livestock, and development has yet to move past the lower reaches of these hills. I wonder what this area will look like in another ten, twenty or fifty years. Perhaps most of the livestock will be gone and forested areas will expand down from the hilltops, while new housing extends up from the roads, a future that is both better and worse than the present.

Below are a few photos from this area, although most of them are from the airport pond and road area.

Comments are closed.