Woodland Restoration Project

By Sabrina  |  February 8, 2013  |  Points of Interest

The woodland area inside the Park from 108th Street to 116th Street was developed according to Frederick Law Olmsted’s original Riverside Park design of 1875, however today’s woodlands look much different than during Olmsted’s time. The original trees have grown tall and full, and non-native “invasive” species have spread under the mature tree canopy. As a result, the area has lost much of its original Olmsted feel. NYC Parks & Recreation, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Riverside Park Fund currently are collaborating on a multi-year project to restore this historic woodland landscape.

Initial work can be observed between 109th and 111th Streets, an area where volunteer groups have removed small invasive trees, applied compost and created a berm at the top of the slope to slow runoff (runoff occurs when water gushes downhill during rainfalls, eroding soil along the way). The berm then is stabilized with erosion cloth and the area is fenced to protect the newly seeded and planted earth.

In addition to removal of understory trees, the tree canopy must be “opened” through targeted pruning of native tulip and hackberry trees as well as oak and sweet gum trees planted in the 1930s. Such pruning will allow sunlight to filter through so that native grasses and perennials such as ferns and asters, planted as part of this restoration process, can take hold.