5 Parks Along The Saw Mill River You Can Enjoy and Help Restore This Spring
This Earth Day, we celebrate different recreation opportunities along the Saw Mill River and the uniqueness it offers to the communities around it.
Our natural green spaces are invaluable for our physical and mental health. The Saw Mill River and its natural habitat offer a true sense of wilderness that traverses through urban and suburban landscapes. This Earth Day, we celebrate different recreation opportunities along the river and the uniqueness it offers to the communities around it.
Over the last few years, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing impacts of climate change on our environment continue to show us the importance of parks and natural green spaces for our overall health.
1. Daylighting Parks — a global movement in Yonkers
Inspired by a global movement to restore urban rivers and bring them back to light, in Downtown Yonkers, where the Saw Mill meets the Hudson, we can find several river parks and trails. The Daylighting of the Saw Mill River in Yonkers and the creation of the three parks, has been an ongoing process since 2012, with tentative plans for future development.
The American eel, muskrats, snapping turtles, and other animal, bird, and plant species can be seen at these parks. Nearby, other green spaces and parks such as Stefanik Park, War Memorial Field, and Doyle Park all provide access to the Saw Mill River. The Esplanade Park, the Yonkers River Promenade, and, later in the season, the Science Barge are also great places to enjoy the view where the Saw Mill River and Hudson River meet.
2. Chauncey Park — rooted in history while looking to the future
Chauncey Park has been a growing collaboration between local residents, conservationists, and Dobbs Ferry to create a vast park with historical roots, several trail-ways, and river access. The park is located near Rivertowns Square, behind the Danforth Apartments in Dobbs Ferry.
In recent years, the park has undergone significant changes with several rounds of tree plantings, the construction of a bridge and pollinator garden, and trail-way maintenance for pedestrian use. The park is home to a historic carriage path that river stewards hope to expand and maintain further for the community.
3. South County Trail — connecting New York City to the Adirondacks
The Westchester South County Trail is a popular place for walking and cycling, as it meanders through Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, and Ardsley. It is a main artery for recreation in New York as a part of the Empire State Trail network, connecting NYC to the Adirondacks.
Groundwork Hudson Valley has been working with river stewards over a 2.5-mile stretch of the trail that includes more than 13 signature locations that invite people to slow down and enjoy the natural landscape. The South County Trail has exciting plans for the upcoming spring season, including trail paving and new tree plantings, in addition to its yearly river cleanup.
A virtual tour of the Trail provided by Groundwork highlights the remarkable stewardship work happening there.
4. V.E. Macy Park — improving green infrastructure and reducing flood risk
The park, located between two major highways, is a pleasant river front green space in Ardsley. In the wake of flooding events, it became clear to Westchester County engineers and planners that V.E. Macy Park needed green infrastructure improvements. It is currently under construction with plans to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces and plant more native trees and shrubs to help restore the floodplain. These improvements also strengthen access to the Saw Mill River and create a better park for all residents.
5. Broadway Field — a river hiding in plain sight
Broadway Field has been a gem in Hawthorne for several years. A new plan for the park involves clearing invasive species and opening up the view-shed to the Saw Mill River with a picnic area where people can gather. Many opportunities exist to contribute to restoring and maintaining this park. Groundwork Hudson Valley has been working with volunteers to clear invasive plant species.
Enjoy while maintaining and restoring the Saw Mill River
The Saw Mill River has been hidden and neglected for the last century. Further investments are needed to care for and continue maintaining and restoring the river. This is the time to steward and visit this natural resource and promote the parks as places for recreation, exercise, socializing and peaceful places to enjoy the great outdoors.
Join the movement to bring back the Saw Mill River by participating in Groundwork Hudson Valley’s annual Great Saw Mill River Cleanup on Saturday, April 23. Register here to sign-up as a volunteer!
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Groundwork Hudson Valley is an environmental justice non-profit that works with communities to improve climate resilience and adaptation, promotes sustainability education, and nurtures the next generation of environmental leaders. Visit us at groundworkhv.org for more information.