St. Eustatius has always recognized that its nature and marine life are precious assets. The St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation, known locally as Stenapa is responsible for managing many ecotourism initiatives. Stenapa is a dedicated environmental organization developed to protect the marine/land environment and to protect and monitor endangered species. One of Stenapa’s key marine initaitives is the St. Eustatius Marine Park that was opened in 1998.
The seas around Statia are considered amongst the most pristine in the world, mainly due to the minimal diving pressure. To accommodate scuba divers the Marine Park offers 30 buoyed dive sites for boats up to 50 feet and three designated for boats up to 100 feet.
The dive sites range from coral reefs, drop-offs and canyons to historical and recent wrecks. The Marine Park covers the sea floor and the waters from the high water mark down to the 30-meter (100 ft.) depth. It encompasses areas from the Gallows Bay to White Wall area; from Jenkins Bay to North Point as well as Oranjebaai. To protect the coral reefs from damage, anchoring is not allowed in the Marine Park areas.
The formation of the Marine Park not only preserves the underwater nature, but also safeguards the artefacts that signifies Statia’s important role as the ‘Historical Gem of the Caribbean’. Stenapa also manages the National Parks including The Quill – a dormant volcano harboring a tropical rainforest and the Boven Subsector – an extinct volcano on the north end of the island. Stenapa is headquartered on Oranje Bay and continues to provide important environmental information and monitor park activities to guarantee the protection of marine life species and precious historical artefacts.