Long Pond Park Preserve
Borough: Staten Island
Habitat Type: Forest, Grassland, Freshwater Wetland
Long Pond Preserve combines a variety of habitats, from upland oak-beech woods, to swamp forests, bogs, and vernal ponds. Long Pond, protected from pollution by the surrounded forest, provides open water habitat for waterfowl, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. This preserve is the only location in the city in which the pickerel frog (Rana palustris) has been observed. Long Pond Park is contiguous with the northern Mount Loretto Woodlands, and both areas combined are potentially large enough to provide safe breeding habitat for forest interior birds. The park provides an important stop on the Atlantic flyway for migrating birds as well as being a place of respite and recreation for many people. Mature beech, oak and hickory woodlands provide much of the foliage in the park, with many of the trees over sixty years old. They help to support an understory layer of spicebush (Lindera benzoin), blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and many herbaceous plants.
Long Pond’s history stretches back for thousands of years, beginning with the Wisconsin Ice Sheet. Twelve to fifteen thousand years ago, a huge sheet of ice blanketed the area, hundreds of feet thick. The pressure of the ice caused depressions in sections that had weak underlying rock layers. As the ice receded, these sunken areas formed wetlands such as Long Pond and Pam’s Pond. As a result, areas of stronger underlying rock were left above sea level. This topographical feature, known as “knob and kettleΑterrain,” can be seen throughout much of Staten Island. The extreme southern and southeastern portions of the island were not covered by the Wisconsin Ice Sheet and therefore do not exhibit this type of terrain.
Long Pond and other bodies of water in the park have been incorporated into the Bluebelt water drainage system by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Encompassing several parcels of state-protected wetlands on the island’s south shore, the Bluebelt system was specifically designed to provide storm water drainage for the neighboring communities.
By Car: Take Hylan Boulevard exit south from the Verrazano Bridge plaza about 11 miles to Cunningham Road (Mt. Loretto). The entrance is directly across from the intersection of Hylan Boulevard and Cunningham Road.
OR Exit 13 (Elizabeth) for US 278 and Goethals Bridge. Off the bridge take exit 5 for Route 440 (West Shore Expressway). Get off at exit 3 for Bloomingdale Road at mileage marker 20 33 (at light turn left onto the road); heads into Amboy Road. Turn left at Page Avenue traffic light (Long Pond Park is on your left along Page Avenue). Turn left onto Hylan Boulevard and park on Hylan Boulevard across from Cunningham Road, Mount Loretto.