Inwood Hill Park

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Inwood_park.jpg
Inwood Hill Park, viewed from a roof top in the area

Inwood Hill Park is a city-owned and maintained public park in Upper Manhattan, New York City. It stretches along the Hudson River from Dyckman Street to the northern tip of the island. Inwood Park's densely-folded glacially-scoured topography contains the largest remaining forest land on Manhattan Island and is the only natural (non-landscaped) park on the island.

As the name suggests, large areas of the park are hills, mostly wooded. Many foot and bike paths criss-cross it. The park also contains three children's playgrounds; baseball and soccer fields; tennis and basketball courts. All of these facilities are popular with people from the neighborhood, for both organized leagues (including the local Little League) and more casual games. The Urban Ecology Center at the north end of the park is both a location for educational programs and the local headquarters of the park rangers.

The area of the park along the Harlem River includes a small salt marsh that attracts large numbers of waterbirds. Mallards, Canada Geese, and Herring Gulls are year-round residents, using both the water and the nearby lawns and ballfields. Many wading birds and waterfowl pass through on the Spring and Fall migrations, and herons and cormorants often spend the summer.

The woods also support a wide variety of birds, including common species such as Blue Jays and Cardinals. Birds of prey that breed in the park include Red-tailed Hawks and owls. A project begun in Summer 2002 is attempting to reintroduce the Bald Eagle to Manhattan using nesting boxes in the park. In the first summer, three of the four introduced eaglets fledged successfully.

The park is comprised of 196 acres (793,000 m²), and the Henry Hudson Parkway and Amtrak railroad tracks run through it. At its northen end is the Henry Hudson Bridge which links Manhattan to the Bronx. Thus, while it is a welcome oasis in the city, it does not support large wild mammals but one can entirely escape the noise of the city. Inwood Hill Park is also home to the mysterious "Father Forest."

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