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

    Gateway

    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.

  • The Floyd Bennett Field Archery Range will be closed on October 22

    Sections of the archery range parking lot will be excavated by the Army Corps of Engineers, to remove defunct fuel lines. The archery range will reopen October 23.

Reptiles

Female Diamondback Terrapin digging a nest.

Diamondback terrapins are not shy! They often dig their nest in front of park visitors right along the West Pond Trail at the Wildlife Refuge.

NPS Photo

Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

This Jamaica Bay resident, named for its exquisite pattern of diamond-shaped markings upon its shell, is the only turtle in North America that lives strictly in brackish water. Glands that excrete excess salt located behind their eyes help them to adjust to the daily changes in salinity in their environment. The golf-ball sized head of female diamondback terrapins can be spotted bobbing up and down with the waves throughout the waters of the bay through the months of June and July. On a bright sunny day, if you remain still and quiet, you may be lucky enough to catch one on the land laying a clutch of about 10 light pink eggs in the sand. Historically, adult terrapins were once over harvested for their meat. Currently, the biggest threats to their population size include raccoon predation and loss of salt marsh habitat.

Biologists from universities study the terrapin population at Jamaica Bay. If you would like to join the Terrapin Volunteer Program, contact Dr. Russell L. Burke at Hofstra University.

Did You Know?

World War I recruiting poster for the Coastal Artillery Corps.

All of Gateway NRA's units include sites that defended New York Harbor from attacks from the sea, from the Revolutionary War through World War II. They are Fort Hancock, Fort Tilden, and Fort Wadsworth. Learn about the history of coastal defense by visiting any of these sites. More...