• Get away to Gateway, where you can camp and stay healthy with heart-smart activities. Photo by Sebastiano Privitera; used by permission.


    National Recreation Area NY,NJ

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  • Sand Replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Sand replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach has begun. During this project, sections of the beach will be closed to the public for their safety. Replenishment is expected to take up to two weeks.

  • Fort Hancock 21st Century Committee Meeting Cancelled

    The meeting scheduled for Friday, October 17 has been cancelled. The next meeting will be Friday, December 12. More »

Cacti / Desert Succulents

Prickly Pear Cactus in blossom.

The Prickly Pear Cactus produces bright yellow flowers during the months of May and June.


Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)

Cacti are typically assumed to be confined to the desert; however, this is not true of Opuntia humifusa. The eastern prickly pear cactus is the only native cactus found in the northeast and is highly abundant along the sunny, sandy habitats throughout Gateway. This low growing plant has flattened stems called paddles that contain barbed bristles. In May and June, mature cacti produce yellow, waxy flowers. These flowers then die away and a red juicy edible fruit forms. The spines on the fruit and paddles can be carefully removed from the outer skin and discarded before consumption. The paddles are commonly used in the South in breakfast omelets and the fruit is often used to make candy and jelly and can be added to drinks for a refreshing flavor. Although edible, the gathering or harvesting of any species within NPS sites is not permitted.

Did You Know?

Women's Army Corps soldiers crossing out the

Did you know that Fort Hancock, unlike most Army posts during World War II, had a racially integrated unit? The 1225th Army Service Unit had African-American soldiers and in 1943 received a group from the Women's Army Corps. More...