CHOATE SANCTUARY
Millwood Road (Route 133), New Castle, Westchester County, NY
30 acres


Directions:

Saw Mill River Parkway north and get off at exit 34 (at green mile marker 21 91). Turn left at the light and drive 0.6 of a mile and turn left and park in the church parking lot of Mount Kisco Presbyterian Church. Parking is illegal on Crow Hill Road. Cross over Route 133 and walk along Crow Hill Road for 100 feet. The sanctuary entrance is on the left.


History:

In Stockbridge there is a mansion known as Naumkeag (located on Prospect Hill, one-half mile from Stockbridge). The mansion was built for Joseph Hodges Choate in 1885-1886. Choate was a prominent New York lawyer who won the case before the Supreme Court for the repeal of the first graduated income tax. He also served as Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

His son was Joseph H. Choate, Jr. was an eminent Park Avenue lawyer.  

1927  --  nine prominent New York lawyers took it upon themselves, as a self- appointed committee, to repeal the so-called Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment (prohibition).  They met under the name of the "Voluntary Committee of Lawyers (VCL)".  For the entire term of its existence, the VCL was chaired by Joseph H. Choate, Jr.
(Source: http://www.druglibrary.org/think/~jnr/endprohb.htm )

1933  (December 4)  --  the day before the final ratification of the repeal amendment, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Federal Alcohol Control Administration (FACA), pursuant to Executive Order No. 6474. FACA was to have the power to grant or revoke permits to engage in the alcoholic beverage industry.  Joseph H. Choate, Jr. was named the first head of the FACA.

1972 -- the heirs of Joseph H. Choate, Jr. give 23 acres to the New Castle Land Conservancy in memory of their father.

1974 -- three additional acres added to the sanctuary Geoffrey Platt, husband of Helen Choate Platt, in her memory.

In 1975 -- the New Castle Land Conservancy and Saw Mill River Audubon merge. Since then, Saw Mill River Audubon has managed Choate Sanctuary as a wildlife refuge with passive recreation use through hiking trails.

1997 -- about four acres added to the northern part of the sanctuary under a 99-year lease from the Town of New Castle.

(Source: http://www.sawmillriveraudubon.org/Choate.html)

Saw Mill River Audubon Society sanctuaries are open year-round from dawn until dusk for members and the general public for study and enjoyment. Guided group tours of the sanctuaries are available upon request. Trail maps are available for the six sanctuaries with trails and bird lists and nature trail booklets are available for Brinton Brook and Pruyn Sanctuaries.


Habitat:

Rocky oak woods and small red maple swamp.


Trails:

The white trail leads northeast to a figure eight loop; at the intersection with the yellow trail turn left and follow the loop trail back to the white trail; stay left on the white trail and turn left at the T-intersection following the white trail in a circle back to the T-intersection. To make a longer walk, at the top of the figure eight, take the blue trail north and then into another loop walk back to the blue trail. (Follow the white trail back to the park entrance)

The trails were a little hard to follow so make sure you use the map (available, hopefully, in the map box). (Have mercy on others who may get lost without the map; make sure you return the map to the box.)

7/29/03. Start with the white trail; pass through an alley way of Japanese barberry; on the yellow trail there are big rock cliffs (with a shallow cave) near the road; quite a few deer in this small park; white trail goes along the house borders; some more big cliffs; take the blue trail on left; huge colony of New York fern; come to a large swampy area covered with skunk cabbage; on the way back see a wild turkey with three young babies.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick Louis Cooney
* = 7/29/03, date plant found in bloom


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple) by the church
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus nigra (black ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) lots of it
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood) -- has fruits with a bluish tinge
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Prunus virginiana (choke cherry)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Strophostyles helvula (trailing wild bean) ?
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Arctium minus (lesser burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Bidens sp. (beggar ticks, 3 lflts)
Chelidonium majus (celandine) *
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Chrysosplenium americanum (golden saxifrage)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) *
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron strigosus (daisy fleabane) *
Eupatorium fistulosum (hollow Joe Pye weed) soon *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) *
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) - most I have seen in one place among Carex pensylvanica
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) *
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum sp. (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb) * soon
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Sanicula sp. (3 lflts look like 5)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) *
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) *
Trifolium repens (white clover) *
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
?chickweed, leaves looks perfoliate

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Brachyelytrum erectum (long-awned wood grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Ferns:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

Other:
Sphagnum sp. (sphagnum moss)