Our Nichols Preserve
The Nichols Nature Preserve , donated to the GRTA by Herbert J. Nichols, Jr. and others as open conservation land in 2004, is a 94-acre property with meadows, forests, ponds and swamps. Here, volunteer conservationists have ongoing projects that help some endangered insect pollinators and certain bird populations. This diverse and beautiful property is open to all nature enthusiasts for walking, horseback riding, fishing, jogging, bird watching, cross-country skiing and peaceful picnicking by a pond.
Read The Nichols Story.
The GRTA employs a land manager who maintains our Nichols Nature Preserve and helps keep the trails clear in many other preserves in town, such as Babcock, Mianus River Scenic Park, Audubon, and the Byram River Gorge. All nature and riding enthusiasts are welcome to enjoy all these wonderful open spaces !
We now have the Nichols Endowment Fund. Please consider contributing to the future of open space preservation. Ask your tax adviser about a stock donation or send a check. To contribute online, use the donate button below and be sure to write a note that states it’s for the Nichols Endowment Fund.
The History of Nichols
This spectacular place carries a rich history. It dates back to when the Siwanoy tribe of the Wappinger Indian Confederacy occupied the land prior to the arrival of the first Europeans to the area. It was subsequently farmed from the early 1700's until the last half of the 19th century, producing hay, apples, and potatoes .
Mr. Herbert Nichols, Sr. bought the property in 1908 and in 1910 he and his son, Herbert Nichols, Jr. were responsible for digging the ponds and planting many of the trees.
The Nichols Property
It is a beautiful composite of meadows, ponds, forest and a red maple swamp. The large ponds are dotted with small picturesque islands and bordered by wonderful trails which wind through the fields and forest, looping back to the ponds so that it is possible to ride or walk for hours without repeating the same course. The meadows, with over a hundred varieties of native flowers planted by the Nichols family, are spectacular to see in the late summer.
Helping Honey Bees
To help improve the plight of the honey bee, GRTA volunteers maintain a few hives on the Nichols property where the bees thrive on our plentiful pesticide-free wild flowers and flowering trees.
The management also coordinates with the Audubon to provide suitable habitats for some ground-nesting and meadow-dwelling birds.
In our meadows, we are encouraging the spread of Butterflyweed, the orange flowering milkweed plant so important in the life cycle of the endangered Monarch butterfly. This picture shows an Eastern TIger Swallowtailed butterfly feeding on the orange blossoms.
Activities at Nichols
Mr. Nichols always intended to have visitors year-round. The preserve is open to all nature enthusiasts for hiking, jogging, horseback riding, fishing, cross-country skiing, bird watching and peaceful picnicking by a pond.
GRTA Trail Rules:
ALWAYS CLOSE THE GATES!
Be considerate and courteous at all times.
YOU ARE A GUEST ON PRIVATE LAND.
No dogs are allowed on trails.
No smoking or littering.
No bikes allowed on Greenwich park paths or GRTA trails.
Always stay on marked GRTA trails. Landowners have given permission that riders may cross their property on designated trails only!
Remove manure from driveways and private roads.
Observe the privacy of landowners when passing close to homes.
Smile, wave, and say thank you to drivers who slow down when passing you on a road.
ALWAYS CLOSE THE GATES!