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Boiling Lake
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hanging heliconia
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.heliconia.
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heliconia
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bird of Paradise
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Anthurium
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Forest flower
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BwaMouche
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Tree Orchid
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Ground Orchid
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Tree Fern
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agouti
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manicou
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tree frog
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crapaud
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river crab
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land crab
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Spider
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White Peacock
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South'n Daggertail
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flambeau
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moth caterpillar
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Valley of Desolaion
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Middleham Falls
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Emerald Pool
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Lesser Antillean Bulfinch
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Rufus throated Solitair or mountain whister

Green Backed Heron
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Lesser Antillean Flycatcher
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twin Trafalgar Falls
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UNESCO World Heritage Site
 The Morne Trois Pitons National Park 
Commonwealth of Dominica

 
 
                  Morne Trois Pitons

 
The area surrounding and to the south of Dominica's second highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, was first proposed as a forest reserve in 1952. It was designated a National Park in July 1975 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.

Geographic Location: 15°16'-15°23'N, 61°17'-61°21'W
Area: 6,857 hectars (16,940 acres) or 26.4 sq. miles
 
 

Morne Trois Pitons 
National Park

Vegetation Zones:  Six natural vegetation zones are identified within the park. 
1. Elfin Woodland grows at the highest elevation, above 3,000 ft., and is almost constantly covered by mist, subject to wind, high rainfall and cool temperatures. The vegetation consists ofmosses, ferns, shrubs, some palms, Lobelia Cirisifolia and stunted Kaklin trees Clusia Venosa covered by lichens. 
2. Montane Thicket is transitional between elfin woodland and montane forests, dominated by spindly trees about 12-15m high with small canopies. The most common tree found on steep slopes is Podocarpus Coriaceus, the island's only native conifer. In more level areas, the main tree is Amanoa Caribaea
3. Montane Rainforest grows above 2,000 ft. and is often in cloud cover or mist. Most trees here are also to be found in mature rain forest, though much reduced in stature. Many trees have arial roots and are home to mosses, lichens, orchids and a variety of bromeliads. Common among the ground vegetation is fern brake and razorgrass (a sedge). Non-vascular epiphytes cover most montane rain forest trees and plants.
4. Mature Rainforest grows below 1,500 ft. This zone contains the most luxuriant
 growth, with trees averaging 100 ft. in height. The massive tree trunks are often littered with bromeliads and various species of anthurium. Some, like the Chataignier, are heavily buttressed, whilst the Gommier is straight-boled. Also dominant are Dacryodes Excelsa, Sloanea spp., and Licania Ternatensis. Due to the thick canopy, there is little ground vegetation other than patches of Selaginella fern. 
5. Secondary Rainforest grows in areas once cultivated but are now abandoned, or in areas which have suffered landslides or other natural disasters. Most common here are tree ferns, of which there are 4 varieties, and Bois Canon. Other widely found species include Cyathea spp., Miconia guianensis, Simarouba amara and Chimarrhis cymosa. A less dense and often broken canopy permits shrubs and small plants to grow freely.
6. Seasonal Formations occur at lower elevations and contain trees which blossom spectacularly in the dryer season. Also found here are ariods, orchids, Z'ailes Mouches, ferns and a variety of vines which rapidly proliferate.

Soil: There are three types of soils groups represented within the park,  allophanoid clays, kandoid, and protosols, which are classified by the degree of chemical weathering they have undergone.

Topography: The Morne Trois Pitons mountain is the basaltic remains of a former volcano rising to 4,672 feet above sea level and within only 5 miles of the sea. The landscape is characterised by volcanic piles with precipitous slopes, and deeply
incised valleys. The Valley of Desolation contains many fumaroles, hot springs, mud pots, sulphur vents and the Boiling Lake, the second largest of its kind in the world, at an altitude of 2,500 ft. This valley is a large amphitheatre surrounded by mountains and consisting of at least three separate craters where steam vents, small ponds, and hot springs bubble up through the ground. Boiling Lake is surrounded by cliffs and is almost always covered by clouds of steam. During the brief intervals when the breeze clears some of the steam, the water in the centre can be seen bubbling and churning, making dull roaring sounds. It's water level and colour vary. Water from the Boling Lake flows into the White River, named because of its pale opaque colour, which continues beyond the park to join the Pointe Mulatre River flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

Wild Life: The most frequently seen terrestrial mammal is the Agouti, a tailless forest rodent with dark fur and pink ears, not unlike a tallish guineapig, often seen rummaging around for food on the forest floor. The Manicou is a species of opossum, which does have a tail. Though probably just as common, it is less often seen, as it spends more of its time in the trees and is largely nocturnal. Both are believed to have been introduced by the early Amerindian settlers from the Orinoco delta region of South America, as a source of food. Wild boar were also introduced into the forests for hunting, but are seldom seen. Rats and mice have also found their way to Dominica via sea vessels. The only indigenous mammal to Dominica is the bat, of which there are several varieties, commonly seen in numbers at dusk. Mountain Chicken (or Crapaud) is a very large smooth skinned frog native to Dominica and Monserrat. It was once also abundant in the neighbouring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, though regarded as a delicacy, it has in recent years been hunted to extinction. There are also three varieties of tiny tree frog, including the endemic Eleutherodactylus amplinympha. There are no poisonous snakes in Dominica. The boa constrictor Nebulosa, locally known as Tet Chien, grows to 3.6m in length and is common in Morne Trois Pitons. Three species of lizards, including the endemic Anolis Oculatus, locally known as Zandoli, can also be seen in the park. At least half of Dominica's 175 bird species can be observed in the park, including the Jacquot Parrot, Broad Winged Hawk, Trembler, doves, flycatchers, hummingbirds, and that elusive bird which is so often heard but seldom seen - the Mountain Whistler.

.
zandoli

Hiking: Many trails have been developed to sights of natural beauty and interest within the park, though some are more popular and better maintained than others. Most popular with the large number of cruise ship visitors is the Emerald Pool, whilst the more active of our stay-over visitors enjoy the all day hike to the Boiling Lake. Whilst Boiling Lake is  the only hike in Dominica on which you MUST be accompanied by a qualified guide, it is nevertheless advisable to engage a guide for all hikes other than the Emerald Pool, especially if you attempt any of less well used trails - around the peaks of Morne Trois Pitons, the summits of Morne Micotrin (4,006ft.) or Morne Watt (4,017ft.). If you are unaccompanied, you should be aware that it is easy to loose the trail in places and that the sun sets rapidly at this lattitude, so aim to have returned by 6.00pm at the latest. Most of the popular hikes commence from or near to the village of Laudat, at a cool 2,000ft., about a 20 minute drive from the capital Roseau, via the Roseau Valley. 

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Freshwater and Boeri Lakes can both be reached on a half day hike from the village of Laudat. 
 
Freshwater Lake 

A new concrete road was recently opened to Freshwater Lake and to a parking area just beyond, from where the 45 minute trail to Boeri Lake commences. Freshwater Lake is at an altitude of approx. 2,500 feet. It's level was raised a little by a dam built by Dominica's electricity company, from where water is piped to a series of hydro stations below the park, in the Roseau Valley to the west. There is a scenic trail encircling the lake which takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Boeri Lake

Boeri Lake is an old volcanic crater, at the even higher elevation of 3,000 ft. above sea level. With low clouds drifting constanly accross it, you could just as easily be in the Scottish highlands. The outflow of water from Boeri Lake feeds into Freshwater Lake. These lakes may also be reached via a hiking trail from the village of Grand Fond, accessed from the east coast at Rosalie.

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Boiling Lake is a must for the avid hiker. 
 
Boiling Lake

This 7 mile trail from the village of Laudat is an all day affair on which you must employ a qualified guide. The trail climbs and descends through forested highlands, via Titou Gorge, Breakfast River, Panorama viewpoint and the Valley of Desolation. Be prepared, as the weather can change suddenly at these altitudes. Best time of year to enjoy this hike is March/ April/ May, when there is characteristically less rainfall.

Middleham Falls is our highest (300 ft.) and most spectacular waterfall, which takes approx. 1 hour to reach from either Providence (near to Laudat), where the road ends beyond the village of Cochrane, via Tou Santi (stinking hole), or from Sylvania.

Middleham
                          Falls
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Emerald Pool is in the extreme north of the park, in the centre of the island. This is accessed from the Castle Bruce road, not far from the T junction off the Pond Casse/ Rosalie road, where you will find a recently completed visitor centre and covered stalls selling local crafts. A fairly short, gentle and well tended trail leads through the forest to the Emerald Pool below a small waterfall in the shade of the forest canopy - a beautiful spot if you are alone, but to be avoided on cruise ship days! A viewpoint on the return trail overlooks a forested valley, where Jacquot (Red- Necked) Parrots may often be seen (and heard!) in flight, just above the forest canopy.
 
 
Emerald Pool

Morne Trois Pitons (4,672ft) summit trail also commences from a point off the Pond Casse/ Rosalie road, not far from the Pond Casse roundabout. This trail is seldom used and is not well maintained - watch out for Razorgrass, which has a triangular stem and can climb and grow very long - the dark green slender blades have a surface which sticks like velcro to your skin and scratches if you pull away! Allow a minimum of 3 hours each way and remember it is usually dark by about 7.00pm.

Morne Watt (4,017ft.) trail commences from the village of Wotton Waven, on the southern rim of the Roseau Valley. This trail is also seldom used and it is recommended that a guide be employed. Allow 4 hours each way.

Morne Anglais (3,683ft.) is accessed from the village of Giraudel, reached via a steep and winding loop road from the west coastal road just south of Roseau. The lower part of the trail passes through some gardens and plantations. It is a steep climb to the summit, cloaked in elfin woodland, which offers truly magnificent views of the western coastline.  Allow a minimum of 2 hours each way.

Other sites of outstanding natural beauty, bordering the park, include: 
Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, Sulphur Springs, Sari-Sari Falls, Victoria Falls.
The new Rainforest Arial Tramway, located near Titou Gorge, began operating on October 1st. 2003. Follow this  for further information.
 


Note:- images displayed on this website are the property of Colin A Lees, Nature Island Destinations Ltd., PO Box 1639, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica, W.I. and may not be reproduced without consent.

Sisserou
                  Parrot
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Nature Island Destinations Ltd.
P.O. Box 1639,      Roseau,
Commonwealth of Dominica,
West Indies
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Dominica and our
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