Pelham Bay Park

Hunter Island Marine Sanctuary

Borough: Bronx

Acres: 138

Habitat Type: Forest, Salt Marsh

Map: PDF

Located north of Orchard Beach, the Hunter Island Marine Zoology and Geology Sanctuary takes in all of Twin Islands, Cat Briar Island, Two Trees Island, and the northeastern shoreline of Hunter Island. It contains many noteworthy geological features including glacial erratics, large boulders that were deposited during the last ice age nearly 15,000 years ago. The rocky coast of Twin Islands, reminiscent of the New England shorefront, is the southernmost outcropping of Hartland Schist, the major bedrock component of such coastlines. The sanctuary supports a unique intertidal marine ecosystem that is rare in New York State.

In 1963, the City began landfill operations near this area on Tallapoosa Point in Pelham Bay Park. In 1966, plans were made to expand this landfill, which would have created the City’s second-largest refuse disposal site next to Fresh Kills in Staten Island. These plans were met with widespread community opposition led by Councilmember Mario Merola, later Bronx District Attorney. The struggle resulted in the creation of the sanctuaries by a local law, signed by Mayor John V. Lindsay on October 11, 1967.



By Car: From 95 take exit 8B toward Orchard Beach/City Island. Stay straight to go onto Shore Drive. Cross the bridge and pass one intersection and then at the traffic circle, go ¼ around to make a right turn. At the end of the road, make a left onto Park Drive and the Orchard Beach parking lot is on the right.
From the Hutchinson River Parkway, take Exit 5 for Pelham Bay Park. Go straight through the first traffic circle and at the end of the road make a left onto Park Drive. Parking for Orchard Beach is located on the right.
From the parking lot, the Hunter Island Marine Sanctuary is located at the north end of the Orchard Beach Boardwalk, past the Orchard Beach Nature Center.
Public Transit: Take the 6 train, Bx5, Bx12, Bx29, Bx14 or Westchester No. 45 bus to Pelham Bay Park. Transfer to (or stay on) the Bx12 (summers only) and Bx5 (summer weekends only) which stop at the Orchard Beach parking lot. Follow above directions from the parking lot.

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