This area includes the largest park in Westchester County?Ward
Pound Ridge Reservation (4,700 acres)?and surrounding forested
areas. According to the NY GAP land cover data, approximately 80%
of the site is forested, and includes Appalachian oak-pine, deciduous
wetland, evergreen northern hardwood, oak, and sugar maple mesic
forests. The park includes more than 35 miles of hiking trails, camping
facilities, horse trails, a wildflower garden, and the Trailside Museum.
The site supports significant populations of reptiles, including
wood turtles and box turtles. A number of 18th and 19th century
houses remain on the property. Portions of the park support natural
communities typically found further north. A large part of the site is
owned by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation,
and Conservation, but much of the land is under private ownership.
This site supports an exceptional regional bird community,
representative of the hardwood forests of southern New England.
Breeding species include the Broad-winged Hawk, Black-billed
Cuckoo, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-
Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Wood
Thrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler,
Louisiana Waterthrush, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak,
and Baltimore Oriole. Additional forest breeders include the Ruffed
Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Winter Wren, Blue-winged Warbler,
and Black-throated Green Warbler.
Development and fragmentation of portions of this site outside of
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation are major concerns. Permanent
protection and stewardship of private portions of the site are needed to
prevent fragmentation resulting from development. Options include
public or land trust acquisition, purchase of conservation easements,
and sustainable forestry agreements. This site needs better monitoring
of at-risk species.
? Michael Gambino
Ward Pound Ridge