NISSEQUOGUE RIVER STATE PARK
Kings Park, Suffolk County, NY
nearly 153 acres, including 4 miles of waterfront


Directions:

From NYC take the Belt (Cross Island) parkway to exit 30. From there, go east about 27 miles on the Long Island Expressway to exit 53N. Go north about 3 miles on the Sunken Meadow Parkway to exit SM4, then go east (right). Pass by Main Street and then turn right on St. Johnsland Road.

This is a beautiful park. There are absolutely great views over the coast and the Long Island Sound with many birds to please the birders. You can make a circular walk by walking on the Green Belt Trail switching to walk along the coast and then returning by the Green Belt Trail.


Geology:

Flowing north for approximately 9 miles, the Nissequogue River crosses the two terminal moraines present on Long Island, and contains freshwater, brackish, and saltwater portions. The lovely river was designated a Scenic and Recreational River by New York State in 1982.

The Nissequogue is one of four major rivers on Long Island, (the others being the Peconic, Carman's, and the Connetquot) and is known for its beauty, its variety of vegetational communities due to the different zones of fresh and salt water.

Meandering through a heavily vegetated corridor, the Nissequogue slowly changes from brackish to saline. The river begins in a series of small tributaries, fed by groundwater and runoff, about 9 miles south from here; it then flows into the second largest lake on Long Island, New Millpond (bordered by a mixed oak-pitch-pine forest). It is the site of an 1802 earthen dam and a nineteenth-century gristmill. New Millpond is contained within Blydenburgh Park.


History:

The archaeological sites discovered along the river corridor include the remains of an Indian village, seasonal camps, flaking stations (points and arrowheads), and fishing and hunting areas. Collected material may be seen in local and county museums.

On November 11, 1999 Governor George E. Pataki announced that more than 80 percent of a former psychiatric center (Kings Park Psychiatric Center) would be preserved as a wooded nature sanctuary and a new state park.


Habitats:

Old stands of oak and other mature woodland; tidal pools; estuaries; freshwater wetland containing an egret rookery.


Facilities:

There are a number of access points to the river. Both canoeists and hikers can get to the river's mouth by driving north on Route 25A for 1.7 miles from the intersection with Route 25, to St. Johnsland Road. Bear right and proceed for 1.8 miles to Old Dock Road. Turn right and follow to dead end, adjacent to Kings Park Bluffs and parking area. Both the canoe rental service and the Greenbelt Trail are here.


Trails:

The Greenbelt Trail runs perpendicular to the end of Old Dock Road and along the western shore of the river for a short distance. General access to the rive is limited due to local topography and the different land uses in the area. You can walk north, or upstream, for perhaps an eighth of a mile until the trail turns inland; it does not parallel the river again for at least a half- mile. Or you can walk downstream for about a hundred yards into a small park and then follow the trail up steep bluffs that afford a spectacular view of the river's mouth and Long Island Sound.

The dramatic and beautiful scene at the Kings Park Bluffs is quite surprising, given this major river's proximity to the suburbs of Smithtown. The river is several hundred feet wide and flows out to the sound between two sandspits. To the north are bluffs 75 feet high and to the east, across the channel, is Short Beach Park, a federal and state sanctuary for breeding least and common terns. The impact of man is noticeable in the presence of boats and a restaurant and parking lot nearby, but it does not detract from the primal immediacy of sky, sun, sand, and moving water.

Spend some time walking the Greenbelt Trail It will give you good but intermittent views of a very special natural area.

Hikers on this northern section of the Greenbelt Trail need a permit (free) and a map. Permits cannot be mailed. Closed on Mondays.


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney; Judith Fitzgerald


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) lots
Acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple) lots
Acer rubra (red maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Picea abies (Norway maple)
Pinus thunbergii (Japanese black pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese )
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Iva frutescens (marsh elder) 8/14/01
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Prunus maritima (beach plum)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Rhus copallinum (winged sumac)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa rugosa (wrinkled rose) 8/14/01
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp.
Salix sp. (willow) very dark green lvs, white underneath, rounded tip
Taxus sp. (yew)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum round leaved one
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lathyrus latifolius (everlasting pea)8/14/01
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Polygonum scandens (climbing hempweed)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)
Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 8/14/01
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Ambrosia trifida (giant ragweed)
Artemisia campestris (tall wormwood) 8/14/01
Artemisia beach wormwood
Artemisia stelleriana (dusty miller)
Artemesia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) 8/14/01
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Aster linariifolius (stiff aster)
Atriplex arenaria (seabeach orache)
Baptisia tinctoria (wild indigo) 8/14/01
Bidens frondosa (beggar ticks)
Cakile edentula (sea rocket) 8/14/01
Cenchrus longispinus (common sandbur)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) 8/14/01
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Mexican tea)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 8/14/01
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 8/14/01
Conyza canadensis (horseweed) 8/14/01
Coronilla varia (crown vetch) 8/14/01
Danthonia armeria (Deptford pink) 8/14/01
Datura stramonium (jimson weed) 8/14/01
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 8/14/01
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pilewort) 8/14/01
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 8/14/01
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge)
Euphorbia nutans (upright spurge) 8/14/01
Euthamia tenuifolium (slender-leaved goldenrod)
Geum canadense (white avens) 8/14/01
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hieracium spp. (hawkweeds) 8/14/01
Hypericum perfoliatum (common St. Johnswort) 8/14/01
Hypochoeris radicata (cat's ear) 8/14/01
Lactuca biennis (tall blue lettuce 8/14/01
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender) 8/14/01
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 8/14/01
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Melilotus officinalis (sweet yellow clover) 8/14/01
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 8/14/01
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 8/14/01
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago aristita (bracted plantain)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 8/14/01
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflorum (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 8/14/01
Polygonum pensylvanicum (pink smartweed) 8/14/01
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Raphanus raphanistrum (wild radish) 8/14/01
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 8/14/01
Salicornia europaea (glasswort)
Salsola kali (common saltwort)
Saponaria officinale (bouncing bet) 8/14/01
Silene alba (white campion) 8/14/01
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) 8/14/01
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod) 8/14/01
Solidago rugosa (rough stemmed goldenrod) 8/14/01
Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod)
Sonchus oleraceus (field sow thistle) 8/14/01
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 8/14/01
Trifolium repens (white clover) 8/14/01
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile bellwort)
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) 8/14/01
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) 8/14/01
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Xanthium strumarium (clotbur)

Grasses:
Agrostis gigantea (red top grass)
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Bromus tectorum (downy chess grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Deschampsia flexuosa (hair grass)
Digitaria sanguinalis (smooth crab grass)
Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elymus (wild rye grass) with little stalks
Elytrygia repens (quack grass)
Panicum clandestinum
Panicum dichotomiflorum (panic grass)
Panicum sp. (panic grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa canadense (Canada bluegrass )
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Spartina cynosuroides (cord grass)
Spartina patens (salt hay cord grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Sedges:
Cyperus filicinus (flat sedge)
Cyperus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)

Ferns:
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)

Other:
Ulva lactuca (sea lettuce)