(Press Release) — A recent article in The New York Times listed Saipan as one of its 52 Places to Love in 2021.
Author Meghan West of Denver called Saipan the “island of hidden caves, covered in untamed jungle.” She went on to add that runners/hikers she met showed her parts of the island she would never have found by herself.
A regular visitor and even a resident would definitely miss the many lush, untouched jungles that Saipan has that may lead them to even more breathtaking discoveries if they are made accessible to everyone.
The Naftan Point is one of them. Located at the southernmost tip of Saipan, Naftan Point offers spectacular views of sunrises, sight of dancing waves when one looks down the edge of the cliff, and a glimpse of World War II remnants.
Spectacular, right? Only if you know how to get there.
The Naftan Point, though one of the must-see sites on Saipan, presents a lot of challenges to visitors, with the road leading to the site covered in deep ruts and boulders and overgrown and thick grass, scrubs, and tree branches.
The Palauan Community Association of the CNMI hopes to ease the trek to Naftan Point by choosing to adopt the site in support of the Public Private Partnership initiative of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers.
“We decided to look at sites that are somehow abandoned but, if developed, can be an added tourist and community attractions. Naftan Point has a stunning view and other attractions, including war remnants. PCA-CNMI has adopted the first point of Naftan and aims to make it more accessible for the general public to enjoy,” said PCA-CNMI vice president Elsie S. Ngewakl.
The PCA-CNMI plans to clear the heavy vegetation and access road from Hawaiian Rock to the first point where the ocean view and war remnants can be visible. The group will also do monthly cleanup drives on the road to Naftan Point and surrounding areas and put up trash bins and signages. Once the area has been cleared, PCA-CNMI will look into other improvement projects at Naftan Point, possibly adding railings and doing landscaping work at the site. The group is also considering installing pavilions and benches, depending on the availability of funding.
The PCA-CNMI is the latest non-profit organization to join the PPP—a destination transformation initiative that has drawn the support of 34 groups on Rota and Saipan and has identified 22 sites needing improvement to help reboot the Commonwealth’s tourism industry and protect the islands’ treasures.
Though it only came on board the PPP last month, the group is no stranger to supporting programs that benefit the community. Through the years, the PCA-CNMI has taken part in community activities, such as cleanup drives, the Flame Tree Arts Festival, the Liberation Day Festivities, and International Festival of Cultures.
“The PCA-NMI, our officials, and representatives of 16 states of Palau are honored and pleased to be part of the PPP. We are all responsible in taking care of the community we live in. And by working together, we can create a better community for ourselves, for the future generations, and for our guests,” Ngewakl said.