Arden Heights Woods
Arden Heights State Forest Area encompasses 8.11 acres of forested freshwater wetland in Southern Staten Island, Richmond County. Within the neighborhood of Greenridge, this highly popular area allows for a variety of recreational activities to be enjoyed, such as hiking, bird watching, nature viewing, and photography.
Recognized as public stewards of New York's natural assets, it is the mission of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to protect the quality of New York State's land, water, and air. Preserving the character of New York's scenery, as well as maintaining the health and diversity of the many plant, fish, and wildlife populations and habitats found within its borders is also considered a high priority. Therefore, the NYS DEC gladly accepts the privilege and responsibility of protecting forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and salt water embayments, as well as the state's vast array of plant and animal species.
However, in addition to conserving both living and non-living natural resources for their own sake, when appropriate, the Department also seeks to enhance the experience of the public through access to and enjoyment of these incredible natural assets. One of the key methods of obtaining this goal is through saving and managing open space.
The Open Space Conservation Plan was adopted to enable the state to conserve and protect open space and historic resources throughout New York State. One of the primary strategies for achieving these goals is for the State government to work cooperatively and in partnership with local governments, the federal government, not-for-profit organizations, the private sector and individual property owners when applicable to conserve a cohesive framework of open space around which all New Yorkers can build better, more rewarding lives.
Open space, defined here as land which is not intensively developed for residential, commercial, industrial or institutional use, may be publicly or privately owned and includes agricultural and forest land, undeveloped coastal and estuarine lands, undeveloped scenic lands, public parks and preserves, and at times water bodies such as lakes and bays.
Often, the land that is defined as open space depends in large part on its surroundings. For example, a vacant lot, a small marsh, or a few acres of wooded land can all be referred to as open space when found within a big city. Even a narrow corridor or pathway for walking or bicycling surrounded by developed areas is considered open space and in need of preservation.
In fact, the protection of open space can help cluster development and shape urban growth in a way which saves money on public services, such as reducing the costs of utilities, transportation, and public works construction and maintenance.
Preserving open space and trees in urban environments also aides significantly in reducing residential and commercial heating and cooling costs thereby reducing air pollution and lowering consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels, making our communities much more sustainable and enjoyable at the same time.
In addition to these many community services, open space provides a tranquil haven where local residents can peacefully enjoy an abundance of recreational benefits and reconnect with the natural world around them.
In light of these many benefits, the State invested $1.45 million to acquire the beautifully diverse 8 acres of valuable class 1 wetlands now called Arden Heights Woods found within the Staten Island Wet Woods.
The property is located adjacent to Arden Heights Woods Park, another class 1 wetland owned by New York City, which provides an additional 183-acre nature sanctuary amidst a bustling urban environment.
Arden Heights Woods is largely composed of a somewhat primitive-feeling forested wetland currently included in the Blue-Belt program.
Within this beautifully primal property, a lazy stream slowly meanders through the trees leading toward a large woodland pond, allowing for an abundance of plants and wildlife to thrive.
The hardwood forest surrounding the wetland further contributes to the already diverse habitat available within Arden Heights, which, together with the adjacent marsh attracts an incredible assortment of wildlife including hawks, owls, warblers and sparrows, as well as spring peepers, tree frogs, salamanders, along with a variety of small mammals.
One of the unique geologic features identified within Arden Heights Woods is a ground moraine that was created from glacial till derived from Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic shale and sandstone. The ground moraine was created during the Wisconsinan glacial period and is part of the Harbor Hill moraine, which deposited material in a distinct northwest-southeasterly band across Staten Island.
Along with a hiking trail which begins from Woodrow Road, another single track footpath runs through the woods connecting Arden Heights to the trails within a neighboring municipal park. Many area residents have taken advantage of this convenient arrangement, and consequently become quite fond of using this area for bird watching, dog-walking, leisurely strolls, nature study, wildlife viewing, photography, and simply as an open space retreat.
Arden Heights Woods provides the surrounding community with a place of exceptional beauty, a place where they will experience solitude, a connection with the natural world around them, and relief from the somewhat hectic world of work. Surely these captivating woodlands will entrance your heart and leave you longing for the day when another trip can be made.
***Stay Safe- Bring a Friend When Out On the Trails***
Arden Heights can be accessed off of Woodrow Road. There is no designated parking, but vehicles can be parked on the shoulder of Woodrow 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 Region 2 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 Arden Heights Woods:
- Arden Heights Woods Map - A map for Arden Heights Woods in Staten Island, New York