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Goethals Pond Complex

Located just northeast of the toll gate to Goethals Bridge in northwestern Staten Island, Richmond County, the Goethals Pond Complex is a splendid natural area comprised of a beautiful 50-acre freshwater pond surrounded by lush wetland vegetation and dense forested wetland.

It is within this incredible setting wherein a variety of passive recreational activities are frequently enjoyed, including nature observation, photography, and fishing.

As the area provides a large expanse of critical nesting and breeding habitat for many species of birds, it has also become one of the most popular areas in Staten Island for bird-watching.Goethal's Pond


Goethals Complex was so named due to its close proximity to Goethals Bridge, which connects Staten Island to New Jersey via Route 298.

The bridge, which opened together with the Outerbridge Crossing in June 1928, was originally named in honor of Major General George W. Goethal, designer of the Panama Canal and first consulting engineer of the New York Port Authority.

Sadly, Goethals died a mere five months before the completion and opening of the bridge, never seeing the finished product that was to give homage to his name.

Field Notes

Goethals complex is comprised of a variety of interesting features, and each of its unique components contributes to the overall beauty found within the encompassing ecosystem. As a result, vital space, within which a wide assortment of plant and wildlife can flourish, is available to the New York Metropolitan area.Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

The vast and shallow fresh and salt water expanses combine with a mixture of freshwater and tidal marshes, creating essential foraging and nesting habitat for an incredible range of migratory and wading birds alike. For example, wading species such as ibises, herons, and egrets have all flourished within this critical habitat. And migratory species including the least bittern, Canadian goose, mallard, swamp sparrow, American black duck, pied-billed grebe, gadwall, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, Virginia rail, common moorhen, American coot, killdeer, spotted sandpiper, and marsh wren have also all been spotted in the mud flats and wetlands.Pied-billed grebe

The pond and associated wetlands within Goethals Complex have been incorporated into the larger Harbor Herons Complex, which consists of several nesting and foraging islands scattered throughout New York City such as Hoffman Island, North and South Brothers Islands, the Isle of Meadows, Pralls Island, Shooters Island, and islands in Jamaica Bay.

As Goethals is located within a short distance to these other nesting and foraging sanctuaries, and because there is minimal disturbance from humans or predators, the area has been officially designated by the Department of State as Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat.


Goethals Pond is located north off of Forest Ave between the Home Depot and the Self Storage Units on Elizabeth Cove Rd.

Goethals Field is located off of Morrow Street between Forest Ave and Goethals Rd North.

Bridge Creek is located off of Western Ave between Goethals Rd North and Arlington Yards.

*Parking is available from the shoulder of the roads.

***Stay Safe- Bring a Friend When Visiting the Property***

State Forest Regulations

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

  • All State Properties 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 NYSDEC 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.

Important Numbers:
State Forest Office (M-F, 8 am- 4 pm): 718.482.4942
Emergencies: 911

More about Goethals Pond Complex:

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  • NYSDEC Region 2
    Lands and Forests
    Hunter's Point Plaza
    47-40 21st Street
    Long Island City, NY 11101
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