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Mt. Loretto Unique Area

Protecting Staten Island's Future

Mt. Loretto Unique Area
6450 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island, NY

Hours of Operation: Daily, Dawn to Dusk


Watch a clip about Mount Loretto on DEC TV.

Prince's Bay lighthouse
Prince's Bay Lighthouse

Nesting grassland birds find sanctuary at Mt. Loretto Unique Area (Mt. Loretto), while birders delight in checking off species on their life-long bird lists. Enjoy walking along the old road system as a large container ship navigates the narrow channel, coming so close to shore you feel like you could reach out and touch it. Or explore the beach to see what new things the tide has washed up. Cast a line out in hopes of hooking a record striped bass or bluefish along the mile-long shore. Or just enjoy watching all of the butterflies and grasshoppers move through the tall grasses in the fall.

Natural Resource Information about Mt. Loretto

Mt. Loretto offers a wide array of habitats to bird species on Staten Island and walkers, birders, and beach-goers can reap the benefits during all of the seasons. Mt. Loretto also offers shore fishing opportunities to anglers on its mile-long shoreline. With five ecosystems - marine/coastal, grassland, forest, and tidal and freshwater wetlands - Mt. Loretto offers tremendous educational value. The majority of Mt. Loretto's acreage is in grassland and coastal marine habitats.

Grasslands at
Mount Loretto Unique Area

Because the largest section of land is in grasslands, one of the main management goals at Mt. Loretto is to improve and maintain nesting habitat for grassland birds. A number of grassland bird species are in decline because nesting habitat is disappearing; three of these species are the bobolink, common meadowlark, and savannah sparrow. All of these species like moist fields with small to moderate height vegetation, characteristic of the fields at Mt. Loretto. The eastern meadowlark has not been observed on Mt. Loretto in many years, but bobolinks have been spotted with increasing frequency on the property.

Horseshoe Crab - Limulus Polyphemus
Horseshoe Crab - Limulus Polyphemus

Coastal/marine habitat is the second largest habitat zone at Mt. Loretto. A narrow sand and cobble beach fronts the property for roughly a mile of coastline, and the property includes 49 acres of underwater lands. On the beach, towards the eastern end of the property is the tidal inlet that links Prince's Bay to the tidal wetlands. This inlet brings saltwater into the tidal wetlands. The course of the inlet changes with the wind and waves.

freshwater wetlands
Freshwater Wetlands
at Mt. Loretto

The freshwater wetlands on Mt. Loretto make up 16.55 acres of the property and are part of a larger wetland system, the Tottenville Freshwater Wetland (a Class I wetland). Wetlands provide flood water and stormwater control, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, erosion and sediment control, and aesthetics. Mt. Loretto's wetlands are low marshes in an open field and contain species such as sedges, rushes, bulrushes, red maple, willows, arrowwood, and highbush blueberry.

Directions to Mt. Loretto

From Goethals and Verrazano Bridges

On I-278, take the exit for 440 South (West Shore Expressway). Take the last exit (exit # 1) on 440 South (just before the Outerbridge Crossing). At the end of the ramp there will be a traffic light, make a right. At the next intersection, take another right. At the traffic light, make a third right. This puts you on Page Avenue. Follow Page Ave until Hylan Blvd (go through four traffic lights, the fifth light is Hylan Blvd.) Take a LEFT on to Hylan Blvd and the parking lot for Mt. Loretto will be about 3/4 mile along Hylan Blvd on the right side.

Or, off the Verrazano Bridge, you can take the exit for Hylan Blvd and follow that south until you come to Mt. Loretto (the parking lot will be on the left coming this way).

Contact information

Educational Opportunities:

Environmental Educator 718-482-6404

Organizations who wish to use the Mt. Loretto property for an event (walk, cleanup, or program) must contact the environmental educator prior to publicizing the event. Either call the above number or email mountlorettouniquearea@dec.ny.gov.

Land Management:

Regional Forester 718-482-4942

Enforcement Concerns & Public Safety:

Forest Ranger 718-317-8213

In cases of emergency, dial 9-1-1.

More about Mt. Loretto Unique Area:

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    47-40 21st Street
    Long Island City, NY 11101-5407
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