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Roaming Through Rockland: Gazing Out From Piermont Pier

Photo by Steve Kelman.

by Steve Kelman

The scenic Hudson River Village of Piermont is a virtual paradise for lovers of the outdoors. Two of its scenic gems, the mile long Piermont Pier and the 4000-year-old Piermont Marsh, offer visitors a variety of activities throughout the year.

Both locations provide abundant opportunities for birding, photography, walking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

American Bald Eagle, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Red Winged Blackbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Kingfisher, Cardinals, Common Grackle, Red Tailed Hawks, Ravens, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, and Cormorants are among the birds and waterfowl observed off the pier and throughout the marshlands. I have observed Bald Eagles, a Snowy Owl, and even seals on the river while walking the pier over the years.

View from Tallman. Photo by Steve Kelman.

Christie, a resident who lives on Paradise Avenue, a roadway that abuts the entrance to the pier, said that she has a “great appreciation for this area,” specifically thanks to its tranquility. “My family and I moved here a dozen years ago from New York City and were delighted to wake up to the sounds of birds as opposed to the sounds of sirens, honking vehicles and other city noise,” she said. “I feel blessed living where I do.”

Also located on Paradise Avenue is the Sneeden House, circa 1800. This was the home of John Sneeden Jr., who was from a prominent ship building family during that period. The Sneeden House is now a private residence.

And a little farther along the roadway there is a small community known as Bogertown with ten houses dating back to the 19th century, circa 1824.

The mile long Piermont Pier offers panoramic views of the Hudson River, Piermont Marsh, the Mario Cuomo Bridge, Westchester County, the waterfront of Tarrytown, and Hook Mountain in Nyack. The walkway is level and on pavement.

The Piermont Pier was built in 1839 to link commerce from New York City to points west. The pier served as the railroad terminus of the Eire Railroad. About 100 years later, during the second World War, the pier would be used as an embarkation point for half a million GIs who fought in the European theater of the war. Dubbed “Last Stop USA” it was for a many soldiers who served, just that.

A Last Stop USA Memorial is located near the traffic light on Piermont Road, just before entering the village’s downtown business district.

Every Memorial Day weekend for a 24-hour period, Vietnam Veterans groups light a watchfire at the end of the pier. These fires also happen in other areas along the river. They “symbolically light the way home for those soldiers who have died in all wars and conflicts of the United States.”

One way to experience the 1000-acre marsh is by kayak or canoe. There are several places to launch, including just off the beginning of the walking path in Tallman Mountain. Kayakers and canoers are seen putting in their watercraft at Parelli Park, located in the village, as well.

A walk along that same multi-use path into Tallman Mountain State Park is another way to enjoy the marsh and its wildlife. As you proceed in the southernly direction towards the swimming pool, the marshlands with their prolific phragmites or common reed will be located on your left and the mountain that bears the name of the state park and its diabase rock, common along the Palisades Ridge, will be on the right. Breathtaking panoramic views of the marsh can be viewed from the upper section of the state park assessable by a park road. A small portion of the popular hiking trail, the Long Path, with its aqua blazes, follows the beginning of the walkway but quickly turns upward ascending the small mountain. The path can be entered from Ferdon Avenue in the village.

Still another place to take in the scenery is at a spot along Paradise Avenue known as, The View. Here (in non-flood like conditions) one can sit on a small bench and take in the prolific phragmites, the Sparkill Creek, and “the Mont,” 171-foot-tall Tallman Mountain. Storyboards located near the bench provides a background of the marsh’s plants and animals. This is a wonderful place for photography and wildlife observation.

And, fun fact: the area encompassing the marsh and the adjoining Sparkill Creek is known as the Sparkill Gap, and it’s the only “sea level break in the Palisades Ridge from Jersey City, NJ to Haverstraw, NY.”

And then there is this: In 1987, the marsh was designated a “significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat,” by the New York Department of State (NYDOS). The designation was given, “in recognition of vulnerable wildlife species, its regional significance for human use and an unusual concentration of wildlife and fish species in the area.”

The Piermont Marsh is a part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and managed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.).

Together the Piermont Marsh and Piermont Pier offer up a perfect day trip getaway.

Rockland County Tourism

Roaming through Rockland covers outdoor destinations to walk, bike or hike in Rockland County.
Sponsored by the Rockland County Tourism.


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