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Goethals Pond Complex

Goethals Pond Complex locator maps

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  • Open for Recreation: Year-round
  • Fee: Free
  • Contact Information:
    • DEC Region 2 Long Island City Office (M-F, 8:45 AM - 4:45 PM), (718) 482-4900;
    • Enforcement Matters: 518-408-5850 (24/7) or 911
  • Location: Staten Island, Richmond County
  • Map: A map of this property is currently being developed || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

Located just northeast of the toll gate to Goethals Bridge in northwestern Staten Island, the Goethals Pond Complex is a splendid natural area comprised of a beautiful 67-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 hiking, nature observation, photography and fishing.

Goethals Complex provides a vital space within which a wide assortment of plants and wildlife can flourish in the New York metropolitan area. 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.

goethals pond
Goethals Pond

There are three sections of the complex:

Goethals Pond

Once a salt water tidal marsh, Goethals Pond was transformed into a 3-foot deep freshwater pond when roads and railroad crossings located just downstream began to restrict drainage out of the area. Fortunately, Goethals Pond has since evolved into a wonderful mixture of fresh and salt water which continually provides critical habitat for a wide assortment of aquatic plants and animals, in addition to numerous species of waterfowl.

Many migratory species and shorebirds can be seen making use of the extensive shallow water area as they make their way to and from other nesting and foraging islands in the area, especially during the spring and fall migrations when the pond is a concentrated collage of color.

Goethals Field

To help reclaim and beautify the landscape, Goethals Field was planted with many fast growing poplar trees, growing large and straight, and lending to the area's characteristically cultivated feel. The replanting efforts undertaken here have not only increased the available habitat for local wildlife, but they have also helped turn what was once merely a neglected and vacant plot of land into a veritable treasure for the neighboring community.

Bridge Creek

bridge creek
Bridge Creek

Consisting of 22 acres of amazing wetland, the Bridge Creek site demonstrates how even minimal restorative efforts can completely transform the landscape. The crystal clear creek for which this site is named winds its way through the lush vegetation, creating beautiful and critical natural habitat in which fish, plants, and wildlife thrive. Still somewhat hidden from the eyes of the multitudes, Bridge Creek provides a peaceful respite amongst a somewhat primitive natural area.

Featured Activities



General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

There is a short hiking trail that leads to an accessible viewing platform on Goethals Pond.


bird viewing

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

snowy egret
Snowy egret

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. Wading species such as ibises, herons and egrets have all flourished within this critical habitat. Migratory species have also been spotted in the mud flats and wetlands, including the least bittern, Canada goose, mallard, swamp sparrow, American black duck, gadwall, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, Virginia rail, common moorhen, killdeer, spotted sandpiper, and marsh wren.

pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe

Goethals Pond has proven to be a highly important area for black-bellied plover, red knot, pectoral sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper, sanderling, common tern and least tern. In addition, the pond is also the only known breeding area in the New York City/Long Island Region for the pied-billed grebe and the American coot.

The pond and associated wetlands within Goethals Complex are part of the Harbor Herons Bird Conservation Area and 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. Goethals Pond has also been officially designated by the NYS Department of State as Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat (leaves DEC website).

Accessible Features


General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

accessible trail and viewing platform
Accessible trail and viewing platform

Nestled in amongst the wetlands and forests, the view of the pond is truly a stunning sight, and both birders and nature observers alike are sure to be delighted by the incredible variety of birds and wildlife filling the area. An accessible viewing platform with an accessible path leading to it have been built on the pond to ensure that this stunning scenery can be enjoyed by all people, while at the same time allowing for the habitat to remain largely undisturbed by human presence. However, there is only on-street parking available.


There are no designated parking areas but roadside parking is available. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Goethals Pond is located north of Forest Ave. between the Home Depot and the Self Storage Units (40.625976°N, 74.175954°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

The accessible viewing platform is located behind the Self Storage Units (40.628056°N, 74.174183°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Goethals Field is located off of Morrow Street between Forest Ave. and Goethals Rd. North (40.626058°N, 74.176244°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Bridge Creek is located off of Western Ave. between Goethals Rd. North and Arlington Yards. (40.632466°N, 74.183915°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Goethals Pond Complex must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

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 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.

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

Illegal activities are strictly prohibited on state property.

How We Manage Goethals Pond Complex

DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at


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.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Staten Island Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.

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    Lands and Forests
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    Long Island City, NY 11101
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