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Individual Highlight

From World's Largest Landfill to New York City's Newest Park

Photo of Kayakers in Freshkills Park, NYC. Forest ServiceKayakers in Freshkills Park, NYC. Forest ServiceSnapshot : The story of the restoration of Fresh Kills Salt Marsh, Staten Island, NY

Principal Investigators(s) :
Campbell, Lindsay K.  
Research Location : Staten Island, New York
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 54


Located at the southwestern corner of Staten Island, NY, the Fresh Kills Salt Marsh became the world's largest landfill. The New York City (NYC) Department of Parks and Recreation is converting the landfill into a park and citywide cultural destination through extensive ecological restoration and landscape planning efforts. At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park is the largest park developed in NYC in more than 100 years.

Forest Service scientists from the NYC Urban Field Station partnered with the city to document and study the park's creation and exploring social and biophysical processes during the conversion. Staten Island residents' attitudes towards the park were assessed and students in the 2012 Columbia University Master of Science in Sustainability Management Capstone Workshop developed a communications strategy to address public health concerns surrounding Freshkills Park.

In another project, 'Legacies of the Dump', the NYC Urban Field Station and Freshkills Park staff used focus groups to understand Staten Island residents' memories of the landfill and their fears and interests in using the future park. Additionally, another study is propagating native poplar and willow plants collected from Staten Island at the Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies in Rhinelander, WI. These trees will be grown in a greenhouse and hybridized, and the most successful genotypes will be outplanted at Freshkills Park.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • College of Staten Island
  • Department of Sanitation New York City
  • Michigan State University
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Freshkills Team
  • Purdue University