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Huckleberry & Davids Islands – Pelham Bay Park

Location: Bronx and New Rochelle, NY

Anchor Site(s): Pelham Bay Park, Orchard Beach, Huckleberry Island, and Davids Island

About the Site: As one of the largest Stewardship Areas around Long Island Sound, this Stewardship Area is made up of Pelham Bay Park (which includes Orchard Beach), Huckleberry Island, and Davids Island. Pelham Bay Park sits on 2,766 acres with a variety of habitats that include salt marsh, freshwater marsh, meadows, forests, mixed scrub, and a saltwater coastline. The Stewardship Area is a haven for  migratory birds, and is designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society for the array of birds that can be found nesting on the islands.The southern area of Pelham Bay Park provides a large picnic area with ball fields, basketball courts, and a playground. The northern area of the park includes two golf courses, hiking trails and bridle paths. Within the park lies Orchard Beach, a premier swimming beach in the Bronx.

Huckleberry Island is owned by the Huckleberry Indians, Inc., a club within the New York Athletic Club and is only uses during the summer months. This island serves as a cormorant rookery, where a few hundred pairs of double-crested cormorants reside in a nesting colony. Davids Island is owned entirely by the City of New Rochelle, with the exception of a 5-acre easement. A variety of uses for the island have been entertained since the City bought the island in 1966 and, currently, a Task Force is discussing the best use for the island. Davids Island is home to a variety of plants, birds, and animals and supports valuable wetlands, rocky intertidal areas, and sandy beaches.

Ecological Importance

  • This Stewardship Area includes nearly 500 acres of undisturbed saltwater wetlands, one of the few wetland areas that remain in the Bronx.
  • This Stewardship Area provides a productive nursery and feeding habitats within this habitat serve a variety of marine finfish and shellfish, including striped bass, bluefish, silversides, menhaden, winter flounder, clams, oyster, and horseshoe crabs.
  • Huckleberry Island is home to the largest colonial waterbird rookery in western Long Island Sound.
  • The Stewardship Area is designated as a New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat for its array of bird and fish species.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Fish, crab, hike, or kayak at Pelham Bay Park, which is the largest municipal park in New York City.
  • Explore the environmental center at Pelham Bay Park, which attracts students and visitors throughout northern New York City with its educational programs.
  • Visit the public picnic grounds, barbecue areas, playgrounds, ballfields, hiking trails, and bridle paths at Pelham Bay Park.

Dive Deeper

  • Friends of Pelham Bay Park
    Meet the Friends of Pelham Bay Park, an organization that works with New York City Parks & Recreation to ensure that Pelham Bay Park is used for recreation, education, and conservation by present and future generations.
  • Davids Island
    Westchester County provides information about the history, buildings, forts, and archeology of Davids Island.
  • Sound Update: Islands issue
    This issue features an article about Davids Island which talks about the plans for the future of the island.
  • Important Bird Area at Pelham Bay Park
    This website will help you learn more about conservation issues at Pelham Bay Park and why this area is designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.
  • MillionTreesNYC
    This New York Restoration Project initiative provides funding for the removal of invasive species and the planting of trees for this area.
  • WildMetro
    This group is a non-profit organization which aims to protect wildlife in natural areas within and around New York City, contributing their effort to Pelham Bay Park.

Places to Visit

  • The New York Botanical Garden studies, exhibits, and teaches about plants by allowing visitors to explore the 50 gardens and over one million living plants on its property.
  • Glen Island Park sits on an 105-acre island, offering picnic areas, a boat launching site, and a restaurant which sits among historical structures still present from the 1800s.
  • Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is home to one of the most beautifully situated historic houses in the city and offers guided and group tours, education programs for children, garden strolls and trail hikes, and a variety of special events.
  • City Island is just over a draw bridge from Pelham Bay Park and is a historic seaport community in New York City.

Get Involved/Events

  • The recreational and educational events calendar for Pelham Bay Park shows the opportunities to explore the shoreline, and get familiar with the local flora and fauna in the area.

Field Notes

  • Huckleberry Island is closed to the public.

Credits and Sources

  • John Grayley, Natural Areas Manager, Pelham Bay Park. Site visit and interview in 2012.
  • Dave Kunstler, Wildlife Manager, Pelham Bay Park. Site visit and interview in 2012.
  • “Audubon: Birds & Science – Pelham Bay Park” Web site. Available at

Return to the main Stewardship page

Did You Know?

  • Forest and woodland make up approximately half of Pelham Bay Park’s natural landscape, most of which has been developed within the past hundred years.
  • The Kazimiroff Nature Trail, Siwanoy Trail, and Split Rock Trail all provide a pathway through the different habitats, ranging from wetlands to woodlands, of Pelham Bay Park.
  • For more than 100 years, Davids Island was home to Fort Slocum, a United States Army base.
  • Huckleberry Island is owned by the Huckleberry Indians, who aren’t real Indians but rather members within the New York Athletic Club.

Pelham Bay

Davids Island

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