Explore Over 10,000 Acres of NYC Parkland With This Interactive Map
Did you know that New York City has more ecological diversity than Yellowstone National Park? Take Central Park, for example, which is home to “more than 30 species of warbler, vireo, sparrow, thrush, and other songbirds” alone. Or Pelham Bay Park’s eight species of owls. Then there’s the 12 species of ferns at Queens’ Cunningham Park.
These tidbits come from a new interactive map by the Natural Areas Conservancy (h/t Untapped), who studied over 10,000 acres in 51 parklands across all five boroughs (an additional 10,800 acres are managed by the state and federal government and weren’t included in the project). The organization created the map as a way to encourage people to explore the city’s natural areas by showing them what they’ll find — “the types of plant and animal species, including those that are rare or threatened – and what activities are most commonly found.”
In addition to outlining NYC parks, the map shows forests, wetlands, grasslands, and open waters. For each park, in addition to its total acreage, these separate environments are broken down by size. Users can click them and see them highlighted on the map. There’s also a blurb with fun facts and a handy link to the official Parks Department page.
The Natural Areas Conservancy differs from the Parks Department or specific park conservancies in that they’re focused on championing the 20,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and grasslands throughout the city. Executive Director Sarah Charlop-Powers said of the map: “New Yorkers may be surprised to learn about the astounding natural diversity right in our backyard. Our research will shape future conservation efforts as we work to make NYC’s wild places accessible to new audiences.”