Nature & Science

Manhattan skyline seen from Sandy Hook Unit's North Beach.
Manhattan skyline seen from Sandy Hook Unit's North Beach.

NPS PHOTO by Park Ranger Konrad Wisniewski.

A getaway for humans, a home for wildlife

Nature in New York Harbor? Absolutely! Gateway is a large park that includes several ecosystems, from ocean beaches to maritime forests, freshwater ponds and salt marshes. Each provides food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. The park is also an important migratory stopping point along the Atlantic Flyway. More than 300 bird species visit the park as a stopover during spring and fall migration, where they rest and refuel.
Jamaica Bay and Beach Channel
Salt marsh at Jamaica Bay and Beach Channel


What IS "natural" in an urban park?

Nature is more than the collection of plants and animals (including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians and "other") you will find in the park. It includes the natural features and ecosystems where different species can be found on land, in the water and places in-between, like salt marshes.

In an urban park such as ours, nature and humanity cannot truly be separated. Gateway is lucky to preserve several areas which escaped commercial development because they were used as military bases, airfields and former city parks. Science and research conducted by Gateway scientists and other scholars can help us all make choices to help us live in harmony with nature and to create a more sustainable future in a world that is always changing, especially now.

Last updated: November 18, 2016

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