BUTTERMILK FALLS COUNTY PARK
Clarkstown, Rockland County, NY
72 acres


Directions:

From Route 59 (exit 11 on NY State Thruway), turn south on Greenbush Road, continue past Rockland Center for the Arts. Park is on east side of road, with parking at entrance.


History:

At the turn of the 20th century  -- during horseback visits to nearby Blauvelt, President Theodore Roosevelt, would stop here for the view.

Purchased by Rockland Council 1976-77 with additional acquisitions in 1981.

Like so many of the small parks in urban areas, part of this park has been used by the locals as a hang-out with the resultant myriad broken bottles and trash.


Geology:

A portion of the Palisades ridge which temporarily leaves the Hudson River and moves inland north of Sparkill Gap before returning to the river in Nyack as Hook Mountain. (Serrao 1986:141)


Habitats:

deep gorge and waterfall. Serrao (1986:142) says it is "probably the most beautiful waterfall and mountain-like forest ravine on the Palisades, very reminiscent of the Adirondack Mountains of New York or the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After a rainfall the top of the waterfall is a roaring cascade over bare diabase rock . . ." I did not get that feeling. Houses were just too close to the waterfall area for my taste.


Trails:

Long Path crosses the park.

A trail leads from the parking area up to the top of the falls and one to the top of the palisades. When I was there I got a sickening feeling, for construction was proceeding apace everywhere to the west.

As of March/April 2004 a new trail connects the Long Path (LP) with Buttermilk Falls County Park. The white-blazed side trail starts 0.1 mile south of Towt Road in Nyack and goes west and then turns south.  It climbs a steep slope and crosses Schuyler Road into the county park.  (Source: Trailwalker, p. 4) 


PLANT LIST:

Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer pensylvanicum (goose-foot maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules club)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya cordiformis (pignut hickory)
Carya glabra (bitternut hickory)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus sp. sessile ash
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Populus grandidentata (bigtooth aspen)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Salix caprea (goat willow)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 6/23/97
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Danthonia spicata (grass)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) 6/23/97
Rosa carolina (pasture rose) 6/23/97
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum rafinesquianum (short-stalked viburnum)

Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata? (porcelain berry)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) 6/23/97
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowort)
Vitis (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Anemone thalictroides (rue anemone) 6/23/97
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp dogbane) 6/23/97
Aquilegia canadensis (columbine)
Arabis canadensis (sicklepod) 6/23/97
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack in the pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster flexicaulis (zigzag aster)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 6/23/97
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 6/23/97
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/23/97
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower) 6/23/97
Conopholis americana (squawroot)
Coreopsis lanceolata (lance-leaved coreopsis) 6/23/97
Cuscuta gronovii (dodder)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 6/23/97
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) 4/09/04
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/23/97
Erythronium americanum (Dutchman' breeches) 4/09/04
Eupatorium hysopifolium? (hyssop-leaved boneset?) 6/23/97 soon
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Hieracium pilosela (hawkweed)
Hieracium spp. (hawkweeds) 6/23/97
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed) 6/23/97
Hypericum punctatum (spotted St. Johnswort)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort) 6/23/97
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass) 6/23/97
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 6/23/97
Krigia biflorum (two-flowered Cynthia)
Lepidium campestre (field peppergrass) 6/23/97
Lepidium virginicum (wild peppergrass) 6/23/97
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover)
Lobelia spicata (spiked lobelia) 6/23/97
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 6/23/97
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 6/23/97
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 6/23/97
Paronychia canadensis (forked chickweed)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed) 6/23/97
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil) 6/23/97
Potentilla officinalis (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 6/23/97
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 6/23/97
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Scrophularia sp. (figwort)
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (stout blue-eyed grass) 6/23/97
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/23/97
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/23/97
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus's looking glass) 6/23/97
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Veronica sp. (speedwell) 6/23/97 blue flowers

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex crinita (sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (orchard grass)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Danthonia spicata (grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle brush grass)
Festuca elatior (tall fescue grass)
Panicum sp. (panic grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)