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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

Facilities:
RestroomsParkingFishingHikingPicnic tablesVisitor CenterBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:
SpringSummerFallWinter

Yellow breasted warbler Photo by Gerry Lemmo
Map

Driving Directions:
From Westchester: Take 9A North to 9. Follow 9 to Rt. 403. Take 403 to 9D. Turn right onto 9D (north) go 3.5 miles, take left onto Indian Brook Rd. (a dirt road at bottom of hill after going over steel bridge). Go 1/2 mile and look for the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center sign and parking area on the right. Please walk downhill on the old dirt road to the right of the parking area, about 1/4 mile to our nature center. Alternatively, take the Taconic State Parkway North to the 301 West exit, towards Cold Spring. Go South on 9D in Cold Spring. After about one mile, look for signs for the Boscobel Restoration (a decorative arts museum) on the right. Take the next right after the Boscobel Entrance, Indian Brook Rd. and follow above instructions.

Map Link

 
Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Wildlife Sanctuary : Wildlife Viewing Area