Many Rockland County residents know Haverstraw Bay County Park as the site of the county’s September 11th Memorial but not about its other features. The 27-acre Hudson River waterfront park has much to offer residents in addition to the opportunity for quiet contemplation at the monument site. It is a passive use park; there are no sports facilities.
Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources Coordinator R. Allan Beers listed the park’s numerous attractions: a public boat launch, the largest children’s playground and largest pavilion in the county, a freshwater pond, paved walking paths and accessibility.
“This park is like a melting pot,” said Beers. “What’s nice about this park is it’s level. “All of our facilities are designed for the handicapped.”
Beers said the boat launch drew many water lovers this year. About 750 boats launched so far, more than in past years. Part of the attraction is the price, which at $10 is the lowest in the county, much less than many marinas.
Beers said even with the high cost of boat fuel, residents want to use their boats. Instead of docking them, they keep them in driveways and bring the boats to the public launch. The parking lot can accommodate 50 vehicles with boat trailers.
For those interested in fishing, all they need is a fishing license to try to catch some of the bass and perch in the park’s freshwater pond. Three piers are located around the pond so fishermen can decide which spot works best for them.
Beers pointed out many people walk in the park at 6 a.m. They can follow two flat paved paths that do not have any hills. The Gazebo Loop is .18 miles and the Memorial Loop which circles around the September 11th monument, is .33 miles long. No bicycles, scooters or roller skates are allowed in the park and there are no playing courts.
The location on Gagan Road in Haverstraw played a key role for hundreds of years.
“This park has had a lot of history in the development of Rockland County,” Beers said.
The property was used first used as a brickyard in 1771. A brick sculpture near the park entrance recalls that time period. In the late 1950s its inlets were utilized for the construction of sections of the Tappan Zee Bridge and New York City Pier 57. Beers said the large sections of the bridge’s span and the pier were then floated down river to their current locations.
Rockland County acquired the site in 1999 and in 2003 created the park. Beers said the county would like to expand and acquire the adjacent 24 acres of undeveloped land but so far the property owner has not had any interest in selling it.