Public transportation: B46, B2, or B41 to Kings Plaza, transfer for the westbound B3 bus to East 33rd Street/Avenue U; or, 2 or 5 train to Nostrand Avenue, transfer to the B41 to Kings Plaza or B3 west to East 33rd/Avenue U; or, N, F, or Q trains to Avenue U, transfer to the B3 Bus East to East 33rd Street/Avenue U.
Car: Belt Parkway to Kings Plaza exit, proceed north on Flatbush Avenue to Avenue U. Turn left on Avenue U and drive west approximately 10 blocks. Once you pass 33rd Street, you’ll see the Salt March Nature Center on the left – parking lot is on the right side of Avenue U.
Salt Marsh Nature Center: phone (718) 421-2021
A green swath in southern Brooklyn near the Belt Parkway, Marine Park appears as a quintessential community green space with baseball diamonds, cricket fields, bocce courts and even a golf course.
Brooklyn’s largest with 798 acres, Marine Park also has an important role in the area’s ecosystem, confirmed with the opening of the Salt Marsh Nature Center in 2000, and preservation of 530 acres as Forever Wild.
The adjacent Gerritsen Creek once supported populations of oysters and sturgeons but real estate development promised to further degrade the area. A forward-thinking pair – Frederic B. Pratt and Alfred T. White – offered the City 140 acres for a park in 1917. Forty years later, the entire Park covered 1,822 acres, though 1,024 were transferred in the 1970s to the newly formed Gateway National Recreation Area.
Today, Marine Park and it’s Salt Marsh Nature Center provide a great location to observe salt marshes in action — plus low-tide sitings of the remnants of North American’s first tide-powered grist mill. It’s mix of salt marsh and grassland habitats attract a variety of insects like dragonflies and Monarch Butterflies, plus animals including Clapper Rails, Osprey, Horseshoe Crabs, and Eastern Cotton-tail Rabbits.
Currently, some trails surrounding the Nature Center have been closed as part of a major ecosystem overhaul. Invasive Phragmites species have been removed and replaced with a variety of native plants. Bird sightings have increased dramatically and the trails should reopen in Fall 2012. In the meantime, ranger-led walks are frequently scheduled (check our our Calendar of Events).
- Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City by Leslie Day, published 2007 by Johns Hopkins University Press.
- New York City Department of Parks and Recreation accessed on 4/13/2012 at http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/marinepark,
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