Nature

Quill Crater Trail Officially Reopened on St. Eustatius

Ropes will help hikers on their way on the path that can be difficult to climb, especially after rain. Photo: STENAPA

ORANJESTAD- Access to the iconic heart of The Quill volcano has been officially restored as of Friday, March 11, 2022. About a year and a half ago, a landslide closed the popular trail into The Quill National Park.

The past few months, STENAPA has been working on restoring the original trail, thanks to funding provided by The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). The team visited the crater during Family Friday to do final maintenance (clear any hanging debris, trimmed exposed rebars, added more ropes, and cleared overgrowth from the path) before declaring it open. Although the beginning and end of the trail remain the same, new ropes and steps guide outdoor and nature enthusiasts along the renewed route that is not prone to landslides. Due to the pre-existence of this trail, there was minimal disturbance to vegetation, giving hikers the experience of being surrounded by untouched nature that they have come to expect.

The Main Quill Trail is the most used entrance into the National Park, and it leads to Around the Mountain, the Crater, Panorama and Mazinga Trails. Maintenance of these and other trails is an ongoing effort to provide safe access into the Park for the community and visitors. Before hiking in either National Park, remember to check the weather forecast, plan well (have enough water, snacks, head cover and a container to keep your waste back with you), and always prioritize your safety. STENAPA asks that hikers stay on the trails to minimize disturbance, landslides and rockfalls in other areas of the National Park. Access to the National Parks is free to residents, while visitors are asked to contribute to the nature fee, to help fund necessary maintenance. Visit the STENAPA Office or their website www.statiapark.org for any inquiries, including their Guided Hikes.

“We thank the community for their patience, and we hope everyone has safe and enjoyable hikes into the National Parks” Achsah Mitchell, Education and Outreach Officer, STENAPA.

Undisturbed

The National Parks provide a sanctuary for Statian flora and fauna – the plants, fungi, lichen and all the animals that depend on undisturbed habitat. By respecting them and their environment, we can properly protect the entire ecosystem and witness lush biodiversity on our hikes. Statia can also benefit from the ecosystem services that are provided by a healthy forest. These include reliable rainfall for agriculture and water security in general, and regulation of the urban island heat effect. This is the effect on overall local temperature caused by the relative number of trees (cooling) and man-made structures that absorb and retain heat (warming). Protecting the vegetation on The Quill benefits us across the island as well as the animals that depend on a lush and healthy forest.

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