Cunningham Park Preserve
Habitat Type: Forest, Freshwater Wetland
The Forever Wild Preserve in Cunningham Park occupies over two thirds of the park, providing 240 acres of forest habitat, vernal pools, and kettle ponds for sensitive wildlife. The Southern Forest, located in the southeastern section of the park is one of the most undisturbed natural areas in the City, with a mature growth of red (Quercus rubra) and black (Q. velutina) oaks, tulip (Liriodendron tulipifera), and hickory (Carya spp.) trees. The understory is abundant with native wildflowers, flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), and a large variety of ferns, such as sensitive (Onoclea sensibilis), interrupted (O. claytoniana), and the rare rattlesnake (Botrychium virginianum) and maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum).
The northern forest was previously farmland, which is still evident by the old stone walkways and walls that can be found throughout the forest. The northern forest is younger and dominated by tulip trees and flowering dogwood as well as a a lush understory dominated by wild sarsaparilla(Aralia nudicaulis, bellwort (Uvularia spp.), star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), and jewelweed(Impatiens capensis). A third part of the preserve is a long, narrow wetland to the southeast of the Southern Forest, home to a variety of waterfowl and spring peepers (Hyla crucifer).
Public Transit: Take the E or F train to Union Turnpike and then the eastbound Q46 bus to 195th street.
Or take the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica Station and then take the Q44 bus to Union Turnpike (towards Flushing). Transfer to Main Street and Union Turnpike to the Q46 bus eastbound.
By Car: Take the Grand Central Parkway to exit 20, Francis Lewis Blvd, northbound. Take Francis Lewis Blvd north and make a left at the first light onto Union Turnpike. Make your second left into the parking lot at 196th Place.