Kakiat County Park

 

When

Best birding in the spring, and best butterflying throughout the summer.

 Kakiat County Park (Photo by Alan Wells).

 

Directions

FROM THE NY THRUWAY: Exit 14B, right on Airmont Road; left on Montebello; right on Mile Road; left on Viola Road, right on Route 202 (Haverstraw Road).  Located off Route 202, between Viola Road and Grandview Avenue,  just opposite from the Viola Elementary School.

FROM THE PALISADES PARKWAY: Exit 13, right on Route 202, go approximately 4 miles. Located off Route 202, between Viola Road and Grandview Avenue,  just opposite from the Viola Elementary School.

 


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Description

Mahwah River through Kakiat County Park (Photo by Alan Wells).

Kakiat is a minimally developed Rockland County park with diverse topography, including: flat wetlands, open meadows, rolling hills, and steep mountainsides. The Mahwah River flows in a SW direction through the park. After heavy rains, there may be considerable flooding along the stream. A footbridge crosses the river where brown trout are stocked annual. Several utility easements criss-cross the park. The Algonquin Gas Transmission Easement, in particular, cuts a swath through the woods creating the narrow meadow favored by butterflies. A planned expansion of this pipeline in 2003 may, at least temporarily, destroy this habitat.

Kakiat Farm, as the parcel has been known in the past, was formerly the home of the Blauvelt family. The family owned and farmed the land for over 200 years growing apples, peaches and cherries. The remains of the Blauvelt mill can still be seen along the Mahwah River by following the Old Mill Trail (Blue). The property officially became county parkland in 1972.

During the spring and summer months, be observant when hiking. Both timber rattlesnakes and copperhead are known to occur in the area. Also, ticks are common and they may carry Lyme disease.

 

Flora

From Dr. William F. Standaert and Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Trees:
Acer pensylvanicum (goose-foot maple), Acer platanoides (Norway maple), Acer rubrum (red maple), Acer saccharum var. saccharum (sugar maple), Amelanchier arborea (shadbush), Betula lenta (black birch), Betula populifolia (gray birch), Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood), Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory),  Carya glabra (pignut hickory), Carya ovata (shagbark hickory), Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory), Castanea dentata (American chestnut), Cornus florida (flowering dogwood), Fagus grandifolia (American beech), Fraxinus americana (white ash), Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry), Juniperus virginiana (red cedar), Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree), Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam), Picea abies (Norway spruce), Picea sp. (spruce), Pinus rigida (pitch pine), Pinus strobus (white pine), Populus sp. grandidentata? (big-tooth aspen), Prunus serotina (black cherry), Prunus virginiana (choke cherry), Pyrus malus (apple), Pyrus x sp. (mostly P. malus) (apple --hybrid), Quercus alba (white oak), Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak), Quercus palustris (pin oak), Quercus prinus (chestnut oak), Quercus rubra (red oak), Quercus velutina (black oak), Rhus glabra (smooth sumac), Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac), Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust), Salix babylonica (weeping willow), Sassafras albidum (sassafras), Tilia americana var. americana (basswood), Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock), Ulmus americana (American elm).

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder), Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry), Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern), Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood), Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood), Corylus americana (American hazel), Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive), Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus), Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel), Ligustrum sp. (privet), Lindera benzoin var. benzoin (spicebush), Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honey suckle), Lonicera tatarica (tartar's honey suckle), Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak), Ribes sp. (rotundifolium?) (Appalachian gooseberry?), Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose), Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry), Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry), Rubus sp. (blackberry), Salix discolor (pussy willow), Sambucus racemosa (red-berried elderberry), Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry), Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry), Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum), Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum (arrowwood viburnum), Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum).

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet), Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root), Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), Menispermum canadense (moonseed), Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy), Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Actaea alba (doll's-eyes), Achillea millefolium (yarrow), Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard), Allium vineale (field garlic), Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia (wood anemone), Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone), Antennaria sp. (pussytoes), Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane), Arabis laevigata var. laevigata (rockcress), Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla), Aralia racemosa (spikenard), Arctium minus (common burdock), Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit), Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort), Asarum canadense (wild ginger), Aster divaricatus (white wood aster), Aster schreberi (Schreber's aster), Barbarea vulgaris (wintercress), Cardamine diphylla (broad-leaved toothwort), Cardamine hirsuta (bittercress), Cardamine parviflora var. arenicola (bitter-cress), Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh), Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed), Chelidonium majus (celandine), Chrysosplenium americanum (golden saxifrage), Cirsium sp. (thistle), Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm), Conopholis americana (squawroot), Corydalis flavula (yellow corydalis), Corydalis sempervirens (pale corydalis), Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches), Draba verna (whitlow-grass), Epifagus virginiana (beech drops), Erythronium americanum (trout lily), Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge), Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry), Galium aparine (cleavers), Galium mollugo (wild madder), Geranium maculatum (wild geranium), Geranium robertianum (herb Robert), Geum sp. (canadense?) (white avens?), Hedeoma pulegioides (American pennyroyal), Hemerocallis fulva (tawny daylily), Hepatica americana (round-leaved hepatica), Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed), Hypericum gentianoides (orangegrass), Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow stargrass), Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed), Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag), Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort), Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs), Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife), Narcissus pseudonarcissus (daffodil), Oenothera biennis (evening primrose), Ornithogalum umbellatum (star of Bethlehem), Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely), Panax trifolium (dwarf ginseng), Plantago lanceolata (English plantain), Plantago major (common plantain), Podophyllum peltatum (may apple), Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal), Polygonum arenastrum (common knotweed), Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed), Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil), Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil), Prenanthes altissima (lettuce), Prenanthes sp. (gall-of-the-earth), Pycnanthemum incanum (mountain mint), Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint), Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf buttercup), Ranunculus acris (common buttercup), Ranunculus hispidus var. nitidus (swamp buttercup), Ranunculus recurvatus (buttercup), Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup), Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel), Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock), Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot), Saxifraga virginiensis (early saxifrage), Scleranthus annuus (knawel), Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal), Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod), Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet), Spiraea tomentosa (hardhack), Stellaria media (common chickweed), Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage), Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion), Tephrosia virginiana (goat's-rue), Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue), Trifolium pratense (red clover), Trifolium repens (white clover), Uvularia perfoliata (perfoliate bellwort), Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore), Verbascum thapsus (common mullein), Veronica officinalis (common speedwell), Veronica peregrina (purslane speedwell), Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell), Viola conspersa (American dog violet), Viola cucullata (blue marsh violet), Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet), Viola sagitatta (arrowhead violet), Viola sororia (common blue violet), Zizea aurea (golden alexanders).

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (soft rush), Luzula multiflora (woodrush).

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora (sedge), Carex pensylvanica var. pensylvanica (sedge), Carex stricta (tussock sedge).

Grasses:
Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus (broom-sedge grass), Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass), Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass), Panicum sp. (panic grass), Panicum virgatum (switch grass), Phragmites australis (giant reed grass), Poa annua (annual bluegrass), Poa alsodes (bluegrass), Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass), Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass).

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail), Equisetum hyemale (common scouring rush), Athyrium filix-femina (Northern lady fern), Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern), Cystopteris fragilis var. mackayi (Mackay's brittle fern), Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern), Dryopteris carthusiana (spinulose woodfern), Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern), Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern), Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern), Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern), Osmunda regalis (royal fern), Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern), Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern), Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern).

 

Butterflies

Courtesy of Frank Bonanno, Vince Plogar, and John Lampkin.

Pipevine Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Falcate Orangetip, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, American Copper, Striped Hairstreak, Coral Hairstreak, Acadian Hairstreak, Edward's Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, Hickory Hairstreak, Brown Elfin, White M Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, Eastern Tailed Blue, Spring Azure, Summer Azure, Great Spangled Frtillary, Meadow Fritillary, Aphrodite Frittilary, Pearl Crescent, Baltimore Checkerspot, Question Mark, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Compton Tortoiseshell, American Lady, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy, Northern Pearly Eye, Appalachian Brown, Little Wood Satyr, Common Ringlet, Common Wood Nymph, Monarch, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Hoary Edge, Southern Cloudywing, Northern Cloudywing, Dreamy Duskywing, Juvenal's Duskywing, Horace's Duskywing, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Swarthy Skipper, Least Skipper, European Skipper, Cobweb Skipper, Peck's Skipper, Tawny-Edged Skipper, Northern Broken Dash, Little Glassywing, Delaware Skipper, Mulberry Wing, Hobomok Skipper, Zabulon Skipper, Broad-winged Skipper, Dion Skipper, Dun Skipper, Dusted Skipper.

Pearl Crescent  (Photo by Alan Wells).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds

Bird List from First Sunday Walks (pdf)

The open field across from the footbridge is an excellent viewing location for displaying woodcocks at dusk beginning in mid-March. During spring, yellow-billed cuckoo may sometimes be found in the apple trees at the parking area.