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Ranger Stories
The Ranger Stories series offers an insider's look at the national parks that ring New York Harbor.

A Ranger Story

Getting Wild in the City

It doesn't require a cross-country trip to get to one of the crown jewels of America's national park system. Let National Park Service Ranger Dave Taft introduce you to New York Harbor's answer to Yellowstone.

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Dave Taft Dave Taft grew up in Canarsie where he learned to collect, trap, and study insects, fish, crabs, spiders, turtles, snakes, ferns, orchids, and other unfortunates not quick enough to escape. Thirty years later, he is still collecting, trapping and studying — but for the National Park Service. Currently, he serves as District Ranger at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Gateway National Recreation Area.

A trained artist, Mr. Taft frequently paints or draws from familiar landscapes and objects found near the park. Says Taft: "There is always something unexpected about nature in New York City. Even a simple find (such as a dead bee on a visitor center windowsill) can lead to important personal discoveries."

Visit our Gateway National Recreation Area page for information on its 11 parks in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Gateway map
1) Great Kills  2) Miller Field  3) Fort Wadsworth  4) Canarsie Pier
5) Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge  6) Floyd Bennett Field  7) Jacob Riis Park  8) Fort Tilden  9) Breezy Point  10) Sandy Hook  11) Fort Hancock

Gateway pictures