Recreational facilities may be the leading factors which attract people to parks, but the real attraction is the nature.  In the community of Arden Heights, which is a name that has been given to the western section of Annadale, you will find the Arden Heights Woods.  In this area, you will find none of these facilities.  There are no sports fields or playgrounds.  You won't find any water fountains or places to barbecue.  That may just be the beauty of it, though, because you will find plenty of flora and fauna populating this gigantic park.

There are currently fifty-one Forever Wild Nature Preserves in New York City.  Of these sites, twenty-four are located on Staten Island. The significance of a Forever Wild Nature Preserve is stated in its title-it is a nature preserve.  The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation originally created the program to protect the wildlife which flourishes throughout New York City. There are many contributing factors which make these sites special. They contain functioning ecosystems which are inhabited by rare flora and fauna.  Best of all, these places are protected.  Believe it or not, the Arden Heights Woods just happens to be one of these protected sites.

Not only is Arden Heights Woods a nature preserve-it is also the largest wetlands site in New York City.  Within the park are several bodies of water, such as creeks, ponds, and streams. One of the most alluring facets of Arden Heights Woods is the fact that the forested areas within the park are successional forests.  In other words, the site undergoes a series of specific changes during its lifetime in which it begins as an open field and develops into a hardwood forest. There is also a good amount of swampland located within the park.

As you can see, there are many different types of flora which can be found throughout the Arden Heights Woods.  In the forested area, you will find the prominent black cherries and white pines.  Some of the most beautiful plants can be found in the swamp area, such as the Northern Blue Flag, which produces beautiful, blue flowers in the iris species. There are also a great number of species of fowl which inhabit the Arden Heights Woods.  The most prominent of these are the many different types of owls and bats, which you can find among the trees.

In 1993, the first portion of land for the park was assigned to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation by the Division of Real Property. This portion consisted of over 150 acres of land.  In 1995, a much smaller portion of land was acquired. It was anticipated that there would be two ball fields constructed on this site.  Due to the fact that it is a protected site, the land was added to Arden Heights Woods.

Today, Arden Heights Woods consists of over 200 acres of land.  It sits below Arthur Kill Road, between the streets of Arden Avenue and Woodrow Road.  Owing to its scenery, Arden Heights Woods is a popular place for people to go hiking.  In fact, there is a hiking trail within the park, known as the Arden Woods Trail, which is 1.2 miles long.  You can access this trail by Arden Avenue and Legate Avenue.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on


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