CONSTITUTION MARSH SANCTUARY
Garrison, Philipstown, Putnam County, NY
200 acres


Directions:

From NYC, take the Taconic State Parkway north about 45 miles. Take Route 301 west about 8 miles into Cold Spring Harbor; turn south (left) onto Route 9D. Go 1.4 miles to the Indian Brook Road (unmarked), the first right past the well-marked Boscobel restoration. Turn right; go 0.5 mile until the road splits off to the left. Park along the roadside at this quiet intersection; the entrance to the sanctuary is 60 yards west by a locked wire gate.
7 miles n on 9D north of Putnam line
1/2 mile on dirt road
(Or it is 2 miles south on Rt 9 with its intersection with Rt. 301. Turn right onto Indian Brook Road and goe 1.4 miles to the parking area along the adjacent ravine.)


History:

Constitution Island was known in Dutch time as Martelaer's Rock, also known as Martyr's or Marter's Rock.

Work began on a fort at the southwest end of Martelaer's Rock in August 1775. Since there was a shortage of engineers, a Dutch born and English raised naturalist and map maker named Bernard Romans (c.1720-1784) supervised the fort's construction. The fort came to be known as Fort Constitution and soon the island's name changed to Constitution Island.

Two sisters, Susan and Anna Warner, eith their father, Henry Warner, moved to Constitution Island in 1834. They wrote novels that became best sellers which made them famous. Their writings focus on the Highlands, religion, and gardening. Anna Warner is best known for writing the lyrics for Jesus Loves Me, This I Know. The sisters would hold religious services for the West Point cadets on Sundays. Both sisters are buried in the West Point cemetery, the only civilians so honored. (Dunwell 1991:78-79)

When Susan Warner died in 1885, Anna tried to get the federal government to buy the 280 acre island. The government did not respond positively. Anna held off the developers who wanted to establish an amusement park on the island. Then Margaret Slocum Sage (Mrs. Russell Sage), a conservationist and philanthropist, intervened. She purchased the island at Anna's asking price and then turned it over to West Point with the stipulation that it never be used for commercial purposes. Anna died in 1915. The Warner House is open to visitors. It is preserved as the sisters had left it. (Dunwell 1991:163-164)

It is reportedly said that the south and north ends of the marsh were diked during the early 1800s. Several straight channels (still extant) were dug to encourage the growth of the wild rice.

The new boardwalk has a plague: "Jim's Walk" Dedicated to the Memory of Jim Rod Warden 1982-1998."


Trails:

Amidst the towering mountains and rocky cliffs of the historic Hudson Highlands is a 270-acre freshwater tidal marsh that can be explored either by foot or by canoe. Numerous inlets and channels wind their way through the thick cattail stands and pickerelweed, past muskrat dens and turtles basking in the sun. Birdlife is especially abundant, and long-billed marsh wrens commonly nest here. A marked trail leads to a new boardwalk that crosses a portion of the marsh and ends at a bird-observation deck.

Walk down the dirt entrance road, green trail, with Indian Brook gorge to your left. Begin the trail on the north side of the remains of an old building. This hillside, which dips down to the edge of the marsh, is a popular site in early June for snapping turtles seeking a dry, earthen place in which to lay and bury their eggs (A). Although most of the females leave the water after dusk, it is not unusual to see one during daylight hours. Upon finding a suitable site, the turtle will deposit between ten and forty hickory-nut-size eggs in a small hole she has dug with her back claws. She will then cover the eggs with dirt and crawl back to the marsh. (Audubon guide)

If you walk east along Indian Brook Road to the huge overpass bridge for Route 9, you can pick up a red trail that will take you to a waterfall in the adjacent ravine.



Wild rice planted here as a crop. Salt water limits it. Leave it as food for birds.

European water chestnut released at Scotia on Mohawk all over the place above Bear Mountain Bridge

Salt moved in here early; choked out native plants.

Typha glauca is a hybrid. Long ribbon like leaves

Duck migration just beginning -- wood ducks eating acorns in woods.

Yellow jackets looking for aphids.

muskrat nests

Bull's Hill on right. Storm King on left. Hudson River Foundation. Boscobel on right. NEPA National Environmental Protection act. Mountain is saved because of groups like Scenic Hudson.

100,000 swallows in August mostly. They nest here in the cattails.

Warner House is still on Constitution Island.



PLANT LIST

Dr. Patrick Louis Cooney; checked and corrected by E. Scott
dates =  dates plants found in bloom


Trees:
Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa) 7/06/03
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cladrastis lutea (yellowwood)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (red ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust)
Juglans cinera (white butternut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) 6/6/94
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus avium (sweet cherry)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pseudotsuga menziessi (Douglas fir)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) 6/6/94
Salix alba (white willow)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) -- lots of dead ones
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo bush)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules' club) several
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush) 8/12/01 planted
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus) 6/6/94
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) planted
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) 6/6/94
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhodotypos scandens (jetbead)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 6/6/94
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 6/6/94
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Trapa natans (water chestnut)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry) 6/6/94
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum) 6/6/94
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)


Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Apios americana (groundnut) 8/12/01
Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis terniflora (sweet autumn clematis) 8/12/01
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 7/06/03
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 8/12/01
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape vine)

Herbs:
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 6/6/94
Amaranthus cannabinus (salt marsh water hemp) 8/18/93
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) 8/12/01 soon
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) planted 7/06/03
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 8/12/01
Bidens sp. (beggar ticks) with trifoliate lvs
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle) 8/12/01
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 6/06/94 7/6/03 8/12/01
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) 7/06/03
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 7/06/03 8/12/01
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pilewort) 8/12/01
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) 8/12/01
Eupatorium purpureum (sweet scented joe-pye-weed) 8/12/01
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod) 8/12/01
Galium triflorum (sweet-scented bedstraw) not prickly, 6 in a whorl
Geum canadense (white avens) 7/06/0-3
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 6/6/94
Helianthus strumosus (pale-leaved sunflower) 8/12/01
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily) 7/06/03
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 8/12/01
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rose mallow) 8/12/01 8/18/93
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 7/06/03 8/12/01 8/18/93
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) 6/6/94
Lapsana communis (nipplewort) 7/06/03 8/12/01
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort) 8/12/01
Liatris sp. (blazing star) 8/12/01 planted
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) 8/12/01 8/18/93 9/07/91
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife) 7/06/03 8/12/01
Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort) 7/06/03
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 8/12/01 8/18/93
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover) 7/06/03
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) 8/12/01 planted
Monarda sp. (a red bergamot) 7/06/03 8/12/01 planted
Myosotis laxa (smaller forget-me-nots) 7/06/03
Myriophyllum spicatum (water milfoil)
Najas minor (naiads)
Nuphar advena? (yellow pond lily)
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 7/06/03
Peltandra virginiana (arrow arum)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 8/12/01
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb) 8/12/01
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 8/12/01
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper) 8/12/01
Polygonum punctatum (dotted smartweed)
Polygonum sagittatum (arrowhead tearthumb) 8/12/01
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed) 8/12/01
Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed) 8/12/01 8/18/93
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 6/6/94
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 7/06/03
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint) 8/12/01 planted
Rudbeckia laciniata (green-headed coneflower) 8/12/01
Sagittaria latifolia (broadleaf arrowhead) 8/12/01 8/18/93
Scutellaria lateriflora (maddog skullcap) 8/12/01
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) 7/06/03
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod) 8/12/01
Spirodela polyrhiza (greater duckweed)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 7/06/03
Tephrosia virginiana (goat's rue)
Trapa natans (water chestnut)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 7/06/03
Trifolium repens (white clover) 7/06/03 8/12/01
Typha angustifolia (narrowleaf cattail)
Typha glauca (cattail)
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall stinging nettle) 8/12/01
Vallisneria americana (water celery)
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) 8/12/01 planted
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed) 8/12/01 planted
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 6/6/94
water millet 8/18/93

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Scirpus fluviatilis (river bulrush)
Scirpus sp. (nut or umbrella sedge)
Scirpus validus (softstem bulrush) 8/18/93

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Cinna arundinacea (wood reed grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Deschampsia flexuosa (flexible hair grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle brush grass)
Glyceria striata (mannagrass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass) lots in certain areas
Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimble will grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer tongue grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Zizania aquatica (wild rice) 8/18/93

Ferns:
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris spp. (wood fern)
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polypodium sp. (rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)