Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wild and Scenic Fresh Kills Park

This place pictured above satisfies most conventional definitions of wilderness: you're very unlikely to see another human here, and it hosts a huge spectrum of wildlife habitat, from the wetlands in the foreground to the open meadows on the hill behind.

Where is it? The Sierran foothills of California? Pastureland in Vermont? Texas hill country? Nope - these acres are within the boundaries of the nation's largest city. This is what remains of Fresh Kills landfill, the site where New York tossed its late-20th-century garbage.

Hiking and picnics are strictly forbidden here, thus the absence of people. But in spite of the heavy metals and other toxics that leach from the buried garbage into the water, the salt marshes of Fresh Kills still attract a remarkable amount of wildlife, and the savannah-like hillsides are a welcome refuge for a number of other critters.

Over the next 30 years, New York City plans to turn Fresh Kills into a fully public park, 3 times the size of Central Park. The household garbage underground will probably leach poisons into the surrounding marshes for millennia to come, but don't let that keep you from taking a pleasant paddle among the man-made hills...

Click here for a satellite view of the landfill/salt marsh

Fresh Kills Master Plan: NYC Dept. of Planning


Anonymous said...

Hot dawg.

Jess said...

I think Fresh Kills was closed until just after September 11, when it was re-opened to receive debris from the World Trade towers.

Anonymous said...

This site hosts a discussion board to share ideas for the project http://www.freshkillsparknyc.com

Anonymous said...

Fresh Kills land fill was closed in March 22, 2001. Then Juliani re-opened 103 acres to process WTC debris, and then the debris were burried on a 40 acre "plot."