Last Chance Pond Park
Last Chance Pond
This pond is named for the organization that helped to preserve the site for the Staten Island community, Last Chance Pond and Wilderness Foundation.
This unspoiled wilderness owes its existence to the efforts of Staten Island residents who were determined not to let the last chance for preservation go by. Entirely surrounded by residential streets, the park’s 50 lots were previously undeveloped wetlands in the hands of a variety of owners. Marshy and hard to use, the Last Chance Pond wilderness area survived intact as the neighborhood grew up around it.
Efforts to preserve the pond and wilderness area began in earnest in the mid-1960s. Local residents Louis Caravone, (currently Chair of Community Board 2) and John P. Mouner of the Beachview Manor Citizens Association enlisted the support of a formidable cadre of politicians and environmental groups to aid their efforts. Together, they helped found the Last Chance Pond and Wilderness Foundation.
The Foundation investigated all possible routes, including applying to the state Environmental Conservation Authority, to have the area designated a protected wetland. But the City had already chosen not to sell the section parcels they owned, in hopes of it becoming a park, so conservationists focused their attention on the acquisition of the privately owned lots. The endangered property in the area of the current park was ultimately purchased by the New York State Nature and Historical Preserve Trust, a non-profit organization, which then donated the land to the City for park purposes. Finally, in 1999, the area of the current park was assigned to Parks by Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) on December 30, 1999.
Last Chance Pond is remarkable for the variety of terrain and habitats contained within its boundaries. The parkland supports two saltwater marshes, a natural spring, and a freshwater pond. These are home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna, many of which are protected under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and federal laws, including the Mallard Duck Protection Act. Last Chance Pond is located within a migration flyway for upstate ducks heading south. Among the species frequently spotted in the park are painted turtles, cotton-tail rabbits, bullfrogs, bittern herons, pheasants, snapping turtles, raccoons, skunks, garter snakes, muskrats, saw-whet owls, and others.
Some of the more interesting plant species found here include swamp white oak, bittersweet, duckweed, maiden hair and royal ferns, green and striped pipsissewa, yellow spatterdock, plokorolweed, Mad-dog skullcap, swamp loosestrife, and mild water-pepper.
Last Chance Pond Park, bounded by Seaver and Naughton Avenues between Zoe and Husson Streets, is a part of the Staten Island Bluebelt, an alternative storm-water management system incorporating natural streams and wetlands. The parks of the Bluebelt serve as holding areas and drainage channels in areas that would otherwise require expensive sewer systems.