High Rock Park Preserve
Borough: Staten Island
Habitat Type: Forest, Freshwater Wetland
Often referred to as one of the most tranquil places in New York City, High Rock Park is noted for its quiet ponds and deep woods. High Rock Park is one of nine parks in Staten Island’s 2,500 acre Greenbelt and has been recognized as a Natural Environmental Education Landmark.
The variety of habitats, including forests, meadows and freshwater wetlands support a diverse array of plants and wildlife. There are six walking trails in the park along which visitors can see stands of red maples (Acer rubrum), Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) and patches of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). Dense forests of red maple, American beech, oaks and hickory prevent much understory plant growth, though in the spring, pinxter azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is abundant. Visitors can also view a rare grove of persimmon (Diosyros virginiana), a tree more common to the South.
High Rock Park contains five ponds and various wetlands, including Stump Pond, Hourglass Pond, Walker Pond and Loosestrife Swamp. Wood ducks (Aix sponsa), great blue herons (Ardrea herodias), and muskrats (Ondatra zibethica) all make their homes here along with hawks, owls, migrating warblers, woodpeckers, frogs and turtles.
By Subway: Trains W, R to Whitehall Street/South Ferry or 1,9 to South Ferry or 4,5 to Bowling Green. Then take the Staten Island Ferry. From the ferry, take bus S61, S62 or S66 to the intersections of Victory Blvd and Manor Rd. Transfer to the S54 bus on Manor Rd and exit at Nevada Ave. Walk up Nevada Ave. through the parking lot and up the hill to the park.
By Car: From Verrazano Bridge: Take the SI expressway (route 278) west to Slosson Ave/ Todt Hill Rd exit. Make a left at the 2nd traffic light onto Manor Rd. Take Manor Rd. to Rockland Ave and make a left. Proceed on Rockland Ave and make a left onto Nevada Ave. Park is at the end of the road.
From South Shore: Take Arthur Kill Rd to Richmond town and turn right onto Richmond Rd. Proceed to Richmond Rd to Rockland Ave (2nd light). Turn right at Nevada Ave and continue up the hill to the parking lot.