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As of 2015, the Westchester Land Trust has acquired the 35-acre Otter Creek Preserve in the Village of Mamaroneck as part of a transfer from The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy’s original acquisition of Otter Creek began was and has remained a true community project. Early on, its neighbors recognized the ecological importance of this saltwater tidal marsh and freshwater tributary on the Long Island Sound, and it was their foresight and investment in their community’s natural resources that catalyzed the creation of the Otter Creek Nature Preserve in 1973. Once the site was protected, substantial work was done by the Conservancy’s Lower Hudson (now Eastern New York) Chapter to inventory Otter Creek’s biological diversity and promote the property’s significance not only to the Village of Mamaroneck, but also to Westchester County. Otter Creek represents 10-15 percent of Westchester’s remaining salt-water marshes, and its use by all manner of birds and other wildlife has been well-documented. It was a proud moment in the Conservancy’s history when, in 1994, the first pair of breeding Osprey in one-hundred years took up residence on a nesting platform erected with help from members of the local community. In 2003, the Conservancy completed a native plant restoration project that dramatically improved the ecology and appearance of the preserve. The preserve was also recognized as a Geographic Area of Particular Concern under the Statewide Coastal Management Program in 1978, and shortly after, the Village of Mamaroneck declared it a Critical Environmental Area.
Although the vast majority of Long Island Sound’s natural shoreline that historically characterized this portion of lower Westchester has vanished, the Otter Creek Nature Preserve remains, giving visitors a sense of the area’s natural heritage and preserving vital wildlife habitat, ecosystem functions and flood control in a densely populated region. It is with great confidence and pride that we pass on this legacy of people and nature to its new stewards at the Westchester Land Trust.
A half-mile loop trail traverses the preserve. It will take you past the tidal marsh and creek for which this preserve is named, through deciduous forest, and along wet woodland depressions. Though the trail is short, the bird diversity can be extraordinary, so bring your binoculars and take time to examine the different habitats contained in this urban jewel.
Marsh vegetation is composed primarily of two related grasses: salt marsh cordgrass and salt meadow grass, a similar, smaller species. Giant reed, or Phragmites, forms a dense border around the marsh. The uplands contain mixed deciduous forest dotted with vernal pools. Silver and red maples, black oak, sassafrass, and willows are abundant.
Black crowned night herons, osprey, yellow warblers, great blue herons, white egrets and northern harriers are commonly seen at Otter Creek. A wide variety of waterfowl and other migratory birds make use of the rich marsh and estuary throughout the year.
This 27-acre preserve is located in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York. Download a preserve map to plan your visit to Otter Creek Preserve.
- From I-684, take 287 East.
- Take Exit 11, Route 1 south (Boston Post Road).
- Travel 3.4 miles and turn left onto Taylor Lane.
- Continue 0.4 miles to the "Private Road" sign.
- Park on the right side of the road and walk through the gate to the preserve entrance sign.