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Lenoir Preserve

Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers, New York is heaven for nature lovers. It is composed of 40 acres of woodland and field habitats. It was opened in 1978 and is owned and managed by the County of Westchester. It used to have two Hudson River estates but today there is only one left. The preserve is home to a number of trees that are imported from different parts of the world. These include copper beeches from Europe, Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest, and ginkgo trees from Asia. Of course, there are also native trees in the area such as hemlocks, pines, red oaks, and tulip trees. These trees serve mainly to provide shelter to the different animal species inside the preserve such as bats, owls, and woodpeckers.  

A good place for birdwatching

Birdwatchers like to visit Lenoir Preserve to see the unique bird species that can be found in the area. The best time to go bird-watching at the preserve is during the spring and autumn seasons. That’s when the major hawk migrations happen. Interested individuals can participate in the official tracking of raptors. Nature and bird lovers can learn a lot when they visit the preserve. For example, they can learn to identify raptor markings, silhouettes, flight patterns, etc. The preserve also has a Nature Center that serves as a venue for various nature exhibits.

Walking along the trails

The trails at Lenoir Preserve are open every day from dawn to dusk. You can get maps at the Nature Center before starting your trek. There are paved walkways and traditional trails in the area. There’s even a trail that will lead you to the Old Croton Aqueduct and eventually to the nearby Untermyer Park and Gardens. One of the trails worth mentioning is the Blue Trail. It stretches from North to South of the preserve and runs along the hillside. It is a very interesting trail with several unmarked footpaths. It begins at the Sugar Shack and ends at the parking lot of the Lenoir Mansion.

The Lenoir Mansion

The Lenoir Mansion is one of the landmarks that you can see inside the preserve. It is situated atop a hill and provides a good view of the meadows. It was built between 1850 and 1870 and its purpose is to serve as a residence for Samuel J. Tilden, who became a presidential candidate. The mansion was built using granite that was obtained from the area. The mansion (and the preserve) was named after Lenoir, North Carolina. The name was given by C.C. Dula, who became the owner of the mansion. It was later inherited by Dula’s niece Purl Parker.

Other trails in the area

You can also try the other trails in the area such as the unmarked side trail. This trail branches off from the Blue Trail. It’s quite a steep trail that leads to a stone staircase. It also passes through a stone arch that you can find on one of the terraces. There’s also the Yellow Trail that begins just a short walk away from the Nature Center and ends at the paved Green Trail. The Yellow Trail will take you to a path that passes right above the Nature Center. Last but not least is the Green Trail. Its starting point lies just behind the Nature Center then it follows a path in the shape of the number 8. The path will take you to the Butterfly Garden, the Terraces, and then it goes around the meadow. It will pass by the mansion and the stone gazebo and then it ends where it began.

If you want to avoid the crowd and escape city life for a day at least, then walking the trails of the Lenoir Preserve is a good idea. You will love the fact that the grounds of the preserve are well preserved. It wasn’t always this way though. A few years back, there’s plenty of overgrowth in the area. It’s a good thing that they decided to clean up the area. For sure, it will attract more visitors, especially those who love nature and birds. If you’re visiting Yonkers, NY, then it’s highly recommended that you spend a day at Lenoir Preserve.

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