Kowawese Unique Area
Plum Point Lane, north Cornwall-on-Hudson, Orange County, NY


Saw Mill River Parkway north to US 87 north; drive over Tappan Zee Bridge; pick up the Palisades Interstate Parkway; get off at the exit for Bear Mountain State Park (Route 6 east); at the Bear Mountain traffic circle take 9W north; pass by the pull-off for Storm King and then for Black Rock Forest; cross over Moodna Creek and in a short ways (near green traffic marker 11 41) turn right onto Plum Point Lane near the sign for Plum Point Park. Go to the end of the road and park.   


Kowawese means "place of small pines."  The Native Americans here were the Woarenecks associated with the Munsi Clan of the Lenape Nation. 

An historical plaque says:  "First European settlement in Orange County, c. 1685 by Patrick MacGregorie and family who established a trading post which was continually operated until l720."

Up by the Interpretive Center another hisltorical plaque says: "Machin's Battery.  14 gun batter to protect the chevauxl-de-frise to Pollopel's Island fire upon ships sailing to burn Kingston October 5, 1777 after the capture of Forts Montgomery and Clinton."

Colonel Patrick MacGregorie was the leader of a group of 25 families, Presbyterian immigrants from Scotland, who acquired lands to the north and south of Murderer's Creek (now Moodna Creek). MacGregorie's cabin was at Plum Point (its original name being "Couwanham's Hill"). MacGregorie was undercut by Governor Thomas Dongan who purchased the identical lands. MacaGregorie was killed in March of 1691 during the Leisler revolution. (Corning 1993:14)

There was a critical ferry crossing between Verplanck and Haverstraw. And during the Revolutionary War there was a fortification here known as Plum Point Battery.

During the Revolutionary War, engineer Thomas Machin (the man responsible for installing the giant chain across the Hudson at West Point) was instructed to design underwater obstacles between Pollepel Island and Plum Point. The water here was shallow enough to allow the emplacement of cheavaux-de-frise (i.e., sharpened tree trunks tipped with iron points and wedged into stone caissons). (Dunwell 1991:20)

On October 8, 1777 the British fleet under General Vaughn took Fort Constitution on Constitution Island without a fight. Sailing north on their way to burn Kingston, the ships easily passed the underwater obstacles at Pollepel Island. (Dunwell 1991:24)

As early as 1873, US Congressman Lewis Beach saw the need for a park here at what he regarded as an ideal place.

The area is owned by the Department of Environmental Conservation and is managed by Orange County's Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, the Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point.  

Where picnickers eat their lunches is where sand was once mined for brickmaking and high way construction (including that of the New York State Thruway in the 1950s).

Kowawese, also known historically as Plum Point, was purchased in 1987.


children's playground, boat launch, picnic tables, interpretive center


Among the bird species are:

mallard duck
canvasback duck
common merganser
mute swan
wood duck
spotted sandpiper
ring-billed gull
great black-backed gull
herring gull
bald eagle
great blue heron
green heron
great egret


12/11/2004.  Did not notice any trails. Walked up to the interpretive center to take a look at the posters about habitat, birds and fish.  Walked back to the parking area and then along the water's edge (Hudson River) and then went north on a trail midway between the top of the cliffs and the shore.  I took it to its end north a bit closer to Newburgh.  Then walked up a long set of steps to the Plum Point Park Playground. Turned left and followed along the road back to the traffic circle at the parking area and then back to the parking lot itself.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

5/02/05.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I toured the area again.  This time I found a small trail.  Walked down to the stairs up to Plum Point Park and then walked to the northeast corner and found an unmarked path.  The path goes parallel with the railway below.  It dumps the walker onto the park entrance road by the bridge over the railway.  Walked down the entrance road to the parking area and my car.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 5/02/2005, 10/14/96 and 12/11/2004

* = blooming on date of field trip, 5/02/05

Acer negundo (box elder)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer pseudoplatanoides (sycamore maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple) *
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) *
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera mackii (Amur honeysuckle)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry) *
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) *

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)  *
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Aster spp. (aster)
Cardamine parviflora (dry land bittercress) *
Chelidonium majus (celandine) *
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Mexican tea)
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Fragaria vesca (wood strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium sp. (geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) *
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) *
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/14/96
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot) *
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Stellaria media (common chickweed) *
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadowrue)
Trapa natans (water chestnut)
Tulipa sylvestris (tulip) planted *
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) *
Vallisneria americana (water celery)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet) *
Viola sororia (common blue violet) *

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)

Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reedgrass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)