Central Park Conservancy restores north woods for all to enjoy

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Each year, 42 million visitors come to find some peace and tranquility in the center of Manhattan. And the latest restoration of the man-made oasis that is Central Park is happening in the north woods along the ravine that meets the Harlem Meer.

As we were there, a red-tailed hawk circled above the newly-rejuvenated green space, just blocks from the hard grid of the city.

Doug Blonsky, of the Central Park Conservancy, said the area was created to mimic sections of the terrain of upstate New York.

"Olmsted and Vaux created areas like this for the typical New Yorker to experience the Catskills or The Adirondacks," he said.

Lack of maintenance of the north woods in the 1900s led to overgrowth and neglect. Now, the Conservancy has returned the open waterway to the area and put boulders back in place.

"Whenever we do restoration, we bring in native species," Blonsky said. "We are on the Atlantic Flyzone for over 270 species of bird."

Results are already showing up in nature, with hibernating chipmunks expected to return in spring. And you'll find some real man-made treasures, like the beautiful rustic bridges and benches.

On your journey through the park, you'll find a handful of 160-year-old trees to sit and ponder under.

"This is the bedrock of New York City," Blonsky said. "This is what New York City looked like before it was developed."

The north woods renovation is part of the $300 million Forever Green campaign, and it took two years to complete. Most of the project is privately funded by people who use and love the park.

Blonsky said that donating to Forever Green projects are better than a timeshare, because you'll be preserving and protecting natural beauty for generations to come.

Visit Central Park Forever Green to learn more about the campaign, including more woodland restorations and the renovations of 21 playgrounds.
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.