Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Wildlife Sanctuary
|Description: Just a one-hour car ride north of New York City, this state park preserve consists
of a number of separate parcels, including the Audubon Center and Wildlife
Sanctuary at Constitution Marsh. The preserve’s several thousand acres are
spread across three counties, with terrain that varies from rocky uplands to tidal
wetlands on the east shore of the Hudson River. With more than 40 miles of
trails, it offers stunning views of the Hudson Highlands and the United States
Military Academy at West Point.|
At the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, more than
200 species of birds find foraging, nesting and resting habitat, as do scores of fish
and other vertebrate and invertebrate species. Cattails, swamp rose mallows, wild
rice and other marsh plants harbor a variety of wildlife in the summer and are
visited by numerous waterfowl during spring and fall migrations.
Wildlife to Watch: Numerous species of birds occupy the varied habitats of the park. Prairie warblers
and field sparrows can be heard singing in fields and brushy areas.
Woodland species include several warblers, ovenbirds, veerys and red-eyed
vireos. Worm-eating warblers can be found in the forests at lower altitudes.
In winter, bald eagles congregate around open water areas by the river. In
summer, turkey and black vultures may be seen soaring above the highlands,
while broad-winged hawks and other raptors are visible during spring and fall
migration, especially from locations like the summit of Anthony’s Nose.
At Constitution Marsh, great blue herons and belted kingfishers hunt the
marsh’s shallows for fish and frogs. Common breeding birds in the area
include red-winged blackbirds, eastern phoebes, Louisiana water thrushes,
spotted sandpipers and Virginia rails. Mallards and wood ducks also raise their
broods here. Wooded hills at the edge of the marsh rise steeply on the rocky
shore, sheltering deer, red foxes and bobcats that come to feed on the marsh’s
abundant aquatic plants, fish and invertebrate life.
Within the marsh, muskrats maintain their dome-shaped lodges made from
marsh vegetation. Northern river otters, mink and beavers may also be seen
feeding along the river. During the heat of summer, you may spot brilliant
orange Needham’s skimmer dragonflies and the turquoise big bluet damselfly.
Snapping turtles are the marsh’s largest reptilian residents and can occasionally
be seen on the riverbank or lurking in shallow water.
Special Tips: Constitution Marsh: Trails are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., yearround.
The visitors center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. with limited winter hours. There is no public access
for canoes/kayaks; however, a public launch is located at Foundry
Dock Park in Cold Spring. Hunting is allowed in nearby areas, so the
marsh is closed to boaters during specific hunting seasons.
Other Activities: Constitution Marsh: The half-mile wooded trail leading to the marsh is steep
and rocky in places. It leads to a boardwalk with benches and interpretive panels,
which extends 700 feet into the marsh.
Constitution Marsh: 845-265-2601, 127 Warren Landing Rd.,
Garrison, NY 10524, www.constitutionmarsh.org
Ownership: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Size: 270 acres
Closest Town: Cold Spring
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: