While Juniper Valley Park remains central to our neighborhood recreation, just 3 miles to the south lies our nearest underappreciated woodland, Forest Park. In addition to a closed roadway for runners and three marked hiking trails (ranging from 1 – 2 ½ miles), the park hosts modest hills and includes features such as a horseback riding path, tunnels, bridges, a freight railway and an abandoned rail that may soon be renovated as part of the Queensway Project. The golf course, lake, carousel, bandstand and sports field are also frequented by meet-up groups and other organizations. Some of the pines have stretched skyward for over 100 years, providing cover for birds and pine cones to feed wildlife.
Like Maspeth and Middle Village, the residents of Glendale, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Woodhaven and other neighborhoods are involved in keeping their local park looking good. Along with NYC Park Rangers, groups of volunteers set out to protect, restore and maintain Forest Park’s native fauna and flora through programs that range from trail maintenance and clean-ups to replenishing indigenous plants and trees damaged by storms and erosion. On April 8th, invasive species were removed from the Pine Grove and 85 saplings were planted by regular volunteers and Queens College students to replace trees killed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Are you ready for a change of scenery or to lend a helping hand? Blue Jays, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, and a variety of songbirds migrate or live throughout the park, as well as hawks and falcons, and at least one Great Horned Owl who needs a girlfriend. Perhaps a female gliding across the borough from Alley Pond Park will move into an owl nest that Friends of Forest Park volunteers plan to raise atop a couple of trees. The Point Man for many projects, Mk Moore, heads this group.
So, want to get involved? Information can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1034820343269497