The Quill/Boven National Park

Protected Area Overview

Managed by St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA)
Established 1997
Size 540 ha. (1,350 ac.)

The Quill/Boven National Park was established in 1997 to protect the biodiversity of two very different volcanic regions at either end of St. Eustatius. The northern park area, the Boven, is an area of dry hills on the northern tip of St. Eustatius and includes the following five hills:  Boven, Bergie, Venus, Gilboa Hill and Signal Hill. The southern park area, the Quill, includes the Quill volcano above 250 metres altitude, the inside walls of the crater as well as the adjacent south-eastern side of the White Wall/Sugar Loaf, a limestone formation on the southern slope of the volcano. The Quill is a dormant volcanic cone; the last eruption took place around 400 AD. The highest point is known as Mazinga (600 metres/1968 feet).

Covering more than a quarter of the island’s total area (540 hectares/5.4 km2), the Park protects a wide range of biologically diverse habitats, ranging from arid vegetation in coastal areas to rainforest at higher elevations.  The park is home to almost all of the island’s 482 wild species of plants. The Boven area is mostly covered in xeric vegetation dominated by Acacia thorn scrub and grasslands, as it experiences low rainfall with a Savannah-type climate. The Quill, on the other hand, is sufficiently high to ‘snag’ clouds and therefore has lush primary and secondary rainforest. The crater of the Quill supports evergreen seasonal forest, a rich forest type that is closely related to a tropical rainforest. Trees found in the crater include the Silk Cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra), the Yellow Plum (Spondias mombin), the Trumpet Wood (Cecropia schreberiana) and the Gum Tree (Bursera simaruba). A small portion of the rim supports rare Elfin Forest, where wild Balsam (Clusia major), Elephant Ears (Philodendron giganteum) and epiphytic mosses are abundant.

The Quill/Boven National Park is home to several rare and endangered species, notably the endemic Statia Morning Glory (Ipomoea sphenophylla), the rarest plant in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Gilboa Hill has the largest stand of this creeping vine. The endemic Red-bellied racer (Alsophis rufiventris), a small, non-poisonous snake that feeds on small reptiles and rats, is abundant in the park. The southern slope of Boven Hill is home to the only viable population of the rare and endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima), a threatened iguana species that occurs on no other Dutch Caribbean islands.

Numerous bird species can be found within the boundaries of the Quill/Boven National Park. The Red-necked Pigeon (Columba squamosa) and the Purple-throated Carib (Eulampis jugularis) are found in the crater of the Quill, while some birds, such as the Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), the Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita), the Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina), the Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), the Bridled Quail-dove (Geotrygon mystacea) and the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) live in the park’s drier habitats. Both The Quill and the Boven sub-sectors have been identified as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) because they support most of the island’s restricted range bird species. The Boven also supports a globally significant population of Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus).

The Quill/Boven National Park offers some of the best hiking in the Caribbean with views of neighbouring Saba, St. Bartholomew and St. Kitts from the top of The Quill. There are 8 hikes around the Quill, the most popular being to the volcano’s crater as well as the ‘Round the Mountain’ hike to the Botanical Garden. The Quill volcano may be the most perfect example of an ash volcano in the region, which, along with the area’s rich biodiversity, is very attractive to visitors. The Boven sub-sector offers natural beauty and great views over the rest of the island with a choice of seven hiking trails. Visitors to the park can also enjoy discovering the island’s rich cultural heritage, archaeological sites in the national park including a fort, ten slave villages, industrial complexes, plantations and walls dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Quill/Boven National Park was declared a National Park in 2012.

Learn more about the Quill/Boven National Park on the website of STENAPA.

Park Management Organisation: STENAPA

St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) is a non-profit organization commissioned by the island government to oversee the management of Statia’s natural environment. STENAPA’s management mandate covers management of the island’s three protected areas: the St. Eustatius Marine Park, the Quill/Boven National Park and the Botanical Garden. Collectively, the protected areas account for 33 square kilometers – more than the total land area of St. Eustatius

The mission of STENAPA is the: “Acquisition, preservation, protection and administration of parcels of land/water on St. Eustatius, worthy of preservation, due to:

  • Scenic beauty and/or the presence of flora and fauna important in scientific or cultural respects or valuable from a geological or historical point of view;
  • Its purpose is to serve for the well-being, the education and the recreation of the St. Eustatius population as well as that of visitors, all this with due observance of the primary requirement of preservation”.

STENAPA aims to fulfil its mission by achieving the following goals:

  • Purchase or acquire individual areas of land/water and the buildings possibly constructed thereon;
  • Administer, develop and protect these areas to do full justice to the preservation of nature, and scientific and cultural values and to the well-being of visitors;
  • Make these areas accessible to persons and institutions, who wish to visit to perform scientific studies, or for educational or recreational purposes;
  • Execute or stimulate scientific research on these areas, for the benefit of science itself and the benefit of preservation of the natural and cultural values of these areas.