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Saint Francis Woodlands

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Saint Francis Woodlands locator map

Saint Francis Woodlands encompasses a beautiful and diverse 25 acres of peaceful wooded property in Staten Island, Richmond County. Area residents experience great joy within the woodlands due in part to the wide range of family-based recreational activities available, including wildlife and nature viewing, bird watching, nature photography, as well as hiking through the pleasant maze of Greenbelt Trails.


Originally owned and managed by the Franciscan Seminary during the 1800s, the land now known as St. Francis Woodlands was sold to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 1998. Purchased with monies from the Environmental Protection Fund, the land was to remain a preserved and undisturbed site for passive recreation as a part of NYC's Open Space Plan.

Preserving open land is one of the most efficient methods for protecting the natural environment through the retention of open land. Not only is open space vital for conserving critical habitat for the area's plant and wildlife, but it also enriches the overall biodiversity of New York State. Along with the unique flora and fauna of the state being preserved, both the scenic and historic sites found within this incredibly diverse open land will remain a permanent part of New York's landscape, insuring this treasured paradise will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

Field Notes

Foot-bridge on a trail at St Francis Woodlands

Wonderfully undisturbed, this tranquil space is perfect for re-centering yourself with nature and getting back in touch with your inner self. Jogging, hiking, and running can all be enjoyed along the many trails that weave their way about the woodlands, but even a simple stroll through the property can be a soothing respite from a busy day.

Peacefully observing or photographing nature is also a favored pastime in the woodlands, and many visitors find even a New York minute seems to transcend time within this inviting sanctuary. Meditation and relaxation are also both excellent options that fall in perfect harmony beside the shallow wood-pond or one of the many bubbling streams. A small dam resides at the main stream's beginning, allowing viewers an excellent opportunity to catch a glimpse of the many small reptiles and amphibians which currently refer to this habitat as home. But don't stop there- if you follow the main stream's winding course calmly through the trees, the woods will suddenly part revealing golden sunbeams as they race to earth and begin a spectacular dance upon a glittering quarter-acre pond (located on the Richmond County Country Club, DEC owned).

In addition, Saint Francis is located nearby the Robert Moses era Richmond County Parkway, which is just adjacent to the property. Be sure to take advantage of this convenient association for additional pleasure and recreational adventure.

Tremendous views stretching all the way out to Lower New York Bay are sure to captivate and delight your senses, while the rolling topography within St. Francis Woodlands leaves you breathless as you experience the lingering charm of open space.


Viewing platform at Saint Francis WoodlandsAs part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, one of the largest urban nature preserves in the United States, St. Francis Woodlands provides visitors with three trails-all less than one-half-mile-long-for exploring its forested hills and upland swamp habitats.

***Stay Safe- Bring a Friend When Out On the Trails***


From the Staten Island Expressway, exit for Todt Hill Road. Parking on Todt Hill is not available. Parking is available in the residential area on Helena Rd and at the trail head at the end of Helena Road.

State Forest Regulations

For your safety and protection of the resource, the following regulations are in place:

  • All State Forests are Carry in Carry Out facilities
  • Unauthorized cutting of live trees or new trail building is prohibited
  • No hunting is allowed on any R2 NYS DEC properties
  • Fishing is allowed in compliance with State regulations
  • No camping is allowed
  • Keep pets under control and on leash while other forest users are around
  • Unauthorized use of off-road motorized vehicles is prohibited. This includes cars, trucks, ATVs, and motorcycles.

More about Saint Francis Woodlands:

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  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 718-482-4942.
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Region 2
    Lands and Forests
    Hunter's Point Plaza
    47-40 21st Street
    Long Island City, NY 11101
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