Protected Area Overview
|Managed by||Saba Conservation Foundation|
|Size||35 ha. (86 ac.)|
The Saba National Park, established in 1999, is located on the northern side of Saba and covers an area of 35 hectares (0.35 km2). The park stretches from Great Hole on the northeastern shoreline and the dramatically steep shoreline Pirate Cliffs in the northwest up to the tropical cloud forest at the peak of Mount Scenery, with its 877 metres, the highest mountain in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Additionally, the park manages 16 historic hiking trails around the island. Every vegetation zone present on the island can be found along the Sandy Cruz hiking trail, which meanders through the park and cloud forest.
The Saba National Park preserves some of Saba’s most important biological, geological and historical areas. It encompasses all vegetation zones present on Saba, from biologically diverse cloud forest to arid coastal vegetation. Saba’s cloud forest covers an area of approximately 8 hectares and is a regional rarity. It is also exceptional since its canopy reaches up to 15 metres (50 feet) in height, more than double the usual height of cloud forest found elsewhere in the Caribbean. The Mountain mahogany (Freziera undulata), one of the dominant trees in this habitat, grows much bigger on Saba than on other islands. Sub-montagne rainforest borders the cloud forest between 775-825 metres (2,500-2,700 feet) and is one of the few original types of woodland found on Saba. The Saba National Park also includes hot springs, stunning geological features such as the Behind the Ridge formation, and the island’s former sulphur mine.
The park provides a safe habitat for a number of species with a limited geographical distribution such as the endemic Saban Anole (Anolis sabanus) and the non-poisonous Red-bellied Racer (Alsophis rufiventris) snake. The park’s steep cliffs, which are mostly barren slope, are important roosting and nesting sites for seabirds, notably the Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) and the Audubon’s Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri).
The Saba National Park and the 16 hiking trails around the island offer some of the best hiking in the Caribbean, with views of neighboring St. Eustatius and other islands from the top of Mt. Scenery.The Saba Conservation Foundation’s Trail Manager, James Johnson, takes groups on guided hikes. Birders will also be delighted as Saba’s diverse vegetative zones provide habitat for a wide variety of land birds, including doves, pigeons, thrashers, hummingbirds, Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Bananaquits (Coereba flaveola).
Park Management Organisation: Saba Conservation Foundation
The Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) is a non-governmental organisation established in 1987 to preserve and manage Saba’s natural and cultural heritage. The SCF promotes the development of parks and protected areas, manages a network of hiking trails, encourages the preservation of historic buildings, and promotes supportive scientific research and education.
SCF’s mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of Saba through the preservation and sensible use of the island’s natural and cultural resources. To achieve this mission, the organisation aims to achieve the following goals:
- To preserve and manage the natural environment of Saba both on land and in the sea.
- To ensure that areas that are exceptionally scenic, host endemic species of plants and animals, or have unique geological, cultural and historical values are preserved and managed for present and future generations.
- To maximize the economic, educational, recreational and scientific potential of natural, cultural and geological areas to the benefit of the people of Saba and those who visit, in so far as this does not conflict with the objectives of conservation.
- To preserve buildings, monuments and sites of historic, archaeological and cultural significance on Saba.