After being closed off to the public since the 1930s, The Hallet Nature Sanctuary on the lower east side of Central Park is once again open to all, writes The Times. The lush four-acre peninsula has for the last decades been used as a bird sanctuary, reclaimed and then tended to by the Central Park Conservancy in 2001 as part of their Woodlands Initiative. Under the project, $45 million was directed towards revitalizing and restoring the wooded areas of Central Park to their original glory.
Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky told the Times that the wooded stretch, then known as the “Promontory,” was closed off in 1934 because then-parks commissioner Robert Moses wanted to turn it into a bird sanctuary. As a result, this area of the park remained largely untouched until 2001 when the Conservancy took up its maintenance (though in 1986, it was renamed to commemorate George Harvey Hallett, Jr., a naturalist, birdwatcher and civic leader). Since then, much work has been focused on weeding out invasive species and replacing them with native plants in order to better support various wildlife populations; the process was started 15 years ago and continues today.
Per the Conservancy’s website, their goal has been to “return the Woodlands to their original glory, enhancing and protecting these fragile landscapes and their wildlife while also enriching the visitor experience as envisioned by Olmsted and Vaux—a piece of the Adirondack Mountains in the middle of New York City.” They add that “the absence of visitors played a large part in the Conservancy’s successful restoration of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary.”
While the sanctuary is still fenced off, a new rustic gate marks the entrance to new pathways. The Conservancy relays that the sanctuary will be open to the public three days a week through June 30th, and four days a week from July 1 to August 30th.
April 1 – June 30
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
July 1 – August 31
Monday & Friday: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
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