10. Staten Island Greenbelt Preserves

A path in the Staten Island GreenbeltStaten Island Greenbelt

The Staten Island Greenbelt is the second largest park in New York City at 2,316 acres, connecting parks and trails that form a massive belt around the middle of Staten Island. The Greenbelt includes parks like High Rock Park, LaTourette Park, and the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. Staten Island residents fought for over two decades to establish the Greenbelt, fearing that infrastructure development like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge would disrupt the island’s natural habitats. Despite these concerns, the Greenbelt includes a site called Moses’ Mountain named after Robert Moses, who notably opposed the construction of the Greenbelt.

Today, the Greenbelt is home to a namesake Preserve as well as the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. The Staten Island Greenbelt Preserve is a mix of forest, grassland, saltwater marsh, and freshwater wetland, making it one of the most diverse preserves in New York City. Many amphibian species reside along the many small wetlands, while forests range from oak to red maple-sweetgum swamp. The William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge consists of a similar diverse topographic makeup, with over 117 bird species like the sharp-tailed sparrow and rough-legged hawks. The refuge now makes up 428 acres with organisms like snapping turtles and muskrats roaming throughout.

See the full list of Forever Wild Nature Preserves in NYC. Next, check out Art While You Walk in the Sculpture Gardens in NYC!