Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
Mt. Loretto State Preserve
Mt Loretto is a spectacular waterfront property featuring important wildlife habitats and stunning vistas from the highest natural bluffs in New York City
Mt. Loretto includes the only natural red clay cliff bluffs in the New York City area and contains extensive ecologically rich and diverse habitats including grassland, costal woodland, freshwater and tidal wetlands, costal bluffs and shoreline, beach and open water and bay bottom in Raritan Bay.
The bay is home to dozens of species of finfish and shellfish, including striped bass, winter flounder, bluefish, and the quahog or hard clam. It also is a major migratory pathway and overwintering area for numerous waterfowl, many of which can be observed in large numbers at Mount Loretto.
The tidal wetland habitat serves as a nursery area for fish and crabs, and provides foraging opportunities for fish and wading birds, such as herons, egrets and ibis. The grassland provide a unique and significant habitat for bird species that are suffering a decline in the state, including the savannah sparrow and eastern meadowlark.
In 1999, New York State purchased this 194-acre property from the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, saving it from potetnial development. Today, nature enthusiasts can take in the natural wonders of Mt. Loretto and observe wildlife in its natural state.
Photo by Mary Chapman
83 Nielsen Avenue, Charleston • 718-967-1976
The 260-plus-acre park holds a mixture of swamps, bogs, ponds, sand barrens, mature woodlands and spring fed streams. The abundant water supply supports a plethora of wildlife including many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Facilities include hiking paths, horse trails and an administration building. Free environmental education programs are offered on Saturday. The park is open year-round. Nature trails are open dawn-dusk.