Welcome to the Quill / Boven National Park. The Park was pronounced
the first official national park of the Netherlands
Antilles in 1998, making it a protected nature reserve.
The park was created to protect unique biodiversity
and ensure sustainable use by all stakeholders. This
3.4km2 park consists of the dormant volcano ‘The
Quill’ and ‘White Wall’, the limestone
formation located on the south side of the volcano.
The park boundaries include the Quill slopes above 250m,
the interior of the crater and White Wall down to sea
The volcanic cone of the Quill (Dutch: kuil = pit)
dominates Statia’s landscape. The highest point
is just over 600m above sea level and is called Mazinga.
The bottom of the crater is 273m above sea level. This
strato-volcano is built up by magma that was violently
ejected, blown to great heights and deposited back on
earth to form layers of material which created a perfect
The last eruption of the Quill dates back to around
the year 400 AD and the present period of inactivity
is regarded as a stage of dormancy.
A thick, white limestone formation is visible on the
southern slopes of the Quill volcano, and is known as
White Wall and Sugar Loaf hill. This formation was formerly
part of the sea bed that was thrust upwards to the surface
during an active volcanic period of the Quill. These
marine sediments subsequently combined over time with
ash and pumice to be converted into layers of sediment
that is seen today from viewpoints on the ‘Around
the Mountain’ trail and Fort de Windt. [go
Zones - Quill Slopes
As a result of former agricultural activities, the
vegetation on the outer slope of the Quill is mainly
thorny woodland. The most abundant plants are Casha
(a species of the Acacia) and Mimosa (Leucaena leucophala).
Also found on the western side of the outer slopes are
the West Indian Cherry (Malpighia emarginata),
Blackberry (Randia aculeata), Sugar Apple (Annona
squamosa) and Cacti. On the eastern side, in addition
to the Acacia, arid vegetation of the Cappris family
can be seen.
On the northwestern slopes from about 250m above sea
level, the vegetation changes from thorny woodland to
semi-evergreen seasonal forest. Most of the adult trees
have low branches and umbrella shaped crowns, for example
the Linana and the Epiphytes, while some of the larger
trees, such as the Silk Cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra)
have buttress roots. Other plants found here are the
White Cedar (Tabebuia heterophylla), Locust
tree (Hymenea courbaril), Yellow Plum (Spondias
mombin), Mappoo (Pisonia subcordata) and
the Gum tree (Bursera simaruba). [go
Zones - Crater & Crater Rim
If you descend to the floor of the crater to a depth
of 273m above sea level, you will enjoy the evergreen
seasonal forest. This rich forest type is closely related
to a tropical rainforest, with the highest trees reaching
40m. Trees found in the crater are the Silk Cotton Tree
(Ceiba pentandra), the Yellow Plum (Spondias
mombin) and the Trumpet Wood (Cecropia schreberiana),
which has large lobed leaves with a silvery-white underside.
Another tree you will definitely see is the Gum Tree
(Bursera simaruba), which has red skin. Begonias
and Bromeliads are often seen, and you may also encounter
the Wild Banana (Heleconia bihai) on the crater floor.
Human influence, however, is also noticable and you
will discover cultivated plants like the Cacao (Theobroma
cacao) and the Mamaya (Mammea americana),
which has leathery leaves.
The elfin forest covers a relatively small part of
the rim. Only the highest point, Mazinga (600m) has
this very rare vegetation type. The trail to Mazinga
peak is hazardous and should be taken in company of
a National Park ranger. Wild Balsam (Clusia major)
is dominant. Elephant ears (Philodendron giganteum)
and epiphytic mosses are abundant. [go
The crater of the Quill with its steep inner slopes
provides an excellent habitat for some of the birds
found on the island, like the Red necked Pigeon (Columba
squamosa) and the Purple-throated Carib. The Green-throated
Carib and Antillean Crested Hummingbird and Bananaquit
are more common birds on Statia that also visit flowers
The Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, the Grey Kingbird, the
Zenaida Dove, the Common Ground Dove, the Caribbean
Elaenia, and the Yellow Warbler are all species that
live in drier habitats.The Bridled Quail Dove is the
only species on St. Eustatius that is listed in the
IUCN red list. It is listed as a near threatened species.
On St. Eustatius this bird is only known from the forest
and woodland around the top and in the crater of The
The American Kestrel or Killy Killy (Falco sparverius
caribaeum) is a widespread small bird of prey,
that is listed on CITES. The species is markedly numerous
in areas with human activities, and has a preference
for open parkland. [go up]
The Quill / Boven National Park provides habitat for a number
of endangered species. Most of them are protected by
local laws and some also through international treaties.
Of particular interest is the Antillean Iguana (Iguana
delicatissima), a rare and threatened species,
which varies in colour from bright green to dull grey,
and feeds on flowers, fruits, leaves and bird eggs.
The Red-Bellied Racer (Alsophis rufiventris)
is a small snake (50-80 cm) found only on Saba and Statia.
This snake is not poisonous and feeds on small reptiles
and young rats. An abundant lizard population includes
the Ground Lizard (Ameiva erythrocephala) and
the smaller bright-coloured Anolis Lizards (Anolis
bimaculatus and Anolis schwartzi).
is a network of 10 trails around the Quill and they offer a variety of hikes, from
an easy rambling trail up to the rim, to a more
difficult trail to Mazinga Peak or Panorama Point.
- Quill Trail (50min):
a hike from upper Oranjestad to the crater rim
- Crater Trail (90min):
takes hikers from the rim to a loop in the crater
- Rim trail – a trail linking the Panorama trail and Mazinga trails that takes you all around the rim of the crater. This is a very challenging hike and should be undertaken by experienced hikers. The use of a guide is recommended.
- Slave trail – Leading off the main Quill trail this is an alternative route down from the top that showcases some of the historical features of the quill including the erosion controlling terraced rock walls put in place by enslaved Africans during the 1700’s.
- Mazinga Peak (60min):
a difficult trail from the rim to the highest
point on Statia with views of the entire island,
the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. On a clear
day you can see St Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.
- Panorama Point (30min):
medium difficult trail, taking hikers to a fantastic
view point to Saba, St Maarten and St Barts
- Round the Mountain
Trail (5hr): winds around the boundary of the
National Park and is the longest hike passing
great viewpoints to St Kitts.
- Mazinga to the Garden trail – this offers hikers another route to the Botanical garden and links the garden trails with more of the Quill network. This can be steep in sections and ropes have been placed to assist hikers and improve safety.
- Botanical Garden Trail
(30min): connects the Botanical Garden entrance
to the Round the Mountain trail
- Bird Observation Trail
(20min): meanders through the natural vegetation
area of the Botanical Garden and links to the
Round the Mountain trail.
Visitors are requested
to refrain from touching or removing any trees,
plants or animals. Please keep to the trails and
do not litter. In order to cover trail maintenance
costs, there is a hiker entrance fee of $10 payable
at the National Parks Office or Tourist Office.
Guided hikes can also be arranged by the Park.
We hope you enjoy your
visit to the Quill / Boven National Park. To enhance your
hiking tour and find out more about the geology,
reptiles, amphibians, birds and flora of the Quill
/ Boven National Park, take a look at the information
guides, brochures and posters that are on display
and for sale at the Park’s office.