Three National Park areas protect the high biodiversity and unique tropical ecosystems present on both land and sea and the total protected area covers 33km2 - almost twice the size of the island of St Eustatius. The national parks system was initiated by the Island Government in 1996 to protect diverse habitats on and around the island. The Government delegated management authority for the parks to a local NGO – St Eustatius National Parks Foundation. Numerous endangered or critically endangered species are protected through active research and monitoring programmes, including three species of sea turtles, the Antillean Iguana, Red Bellied Racer Snake, orchids and cacti and the endemic plant ‘Statia Morning Glory’.
The St Eustatius National Marine Park was created in 1996 and extends around the entire island from the high water line to 30m depth contour. The park covers an area of 27.5km2 and protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs (drop off walls, volcanic ‘fingers’ and ‘bombs’, spur and groove systems), 18th century shipwrecks and modern-day artificial reefs to promote fishing and dive tourism (including a 100m cable-laying ship).
Within the Park are two actively- managed Reserves in which no fishing or anchoring is permitted to conserve marine biodiversity, protect fish stocks and promote sustainable tourism. In addition to regular mooring maintenance, patrols and research, the National Marine Park works closely with local dive centres to ensure that diving practices minimise impact on the reef. go to the national marine park page
The Quill / Boven National Park is recognized internationally and was pronounced the first official National Park of the Netherlands Antilles in 1998. The park was created to protect unique biodiversity and ensure sustainable use by all stakeholders. This park of 5.4km2 consists of two sub-sectors - the dormant volcano ‘The Quill’ and ‘White Wall’, the limestone formation located on the south side of the volcano – and the ‘Boven’ area covering five hills in the north of St Eustatius.
Varying types of habitat are protected, ranging from elfin forest at the top of the Quill volcano to thorny woodland on the lower slopes. The Park gives guided tours to visitors and maintains a network of 10 trails in the Quill sector.
go to the Quill national park page
go to the Boven national park page
The third protected area is the Miriam Schmidt Botanical Garden. Created in 1998, this Garden provides a haven for the protection of the island’s nature fauna and flora whilst, at the same time, creating an opportunity to rest in peaceful surroundings.
The Garden is adjacent to the boundary of the Quill National Park and extends for 5.3ha across the southern slopes of the Quill. Visitors can learn more about the flora of St Eustatius, take a walk through the forest or picnic and enjoy the views of St Kitts and beyond.
go to the garden page