Brooklyn’s Salt Marsh is a City Treasure

Marine Park at Avenue U . Photo courtesy of BarbaraNY05

Brooklyn is home to a lot of different things, but a nature preserve is probably not the first thing most people consider when thinking of Brooklyn. Nevertheless, Brooklyn’s largest park is not Prospect, but rather Marine Park and its unique nature preserve.

Located in the southeastern section of the borough, Marine Park is divided into several areas for recreation and preservation.

The park includes a golf course, bocce courts, handball courts, cricket fields and baseball fields. There are playgrounds for children, greenways for bike riding, and canoes and kayaks can be launched and landed at the Gerritsen inlet.

The park’s shining glory, however, is the 530-acre grassland and salt marsh, protected as a “Forever Wild preserve.” The Salt Marsh Nature Center offers an assortment of educational and fun activities every week, and visitors can walk along the Salt Marsh Nature Trail and see the incredible flora and fauna up close.

There are about 325 species of birds, including pheasants, warblers and sparrows. Catch a glimpse of the 50 types of butterflies and 100 species of fish as well. Spend some time admiring the mated pair of Ospreys on a special platform just for that purpose. This pair has been there for several years already—Ospreys mate for life.

If history is more your thing, then this park has that, too. Just a bit north of the nature center you can see a set of wood pilings. This is the remains of the first tide-powered mill in the United States. It was built to grind corn, grain and flour for the army of General Washington during the time of the American War of Independence, and after the British captured Brooklyn the mill was used by the Hessian army. Unfortunately, the mill burned down in 1935 right after the exterior of the building had been restored.

Go visit Brooklyn’s largest park, and loose yourself in nature, sports, history, and just about anything you fancy.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)