Founded in 1969, the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC) is a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, conservation and restoration of Udalls Cove, and its associated wetlands and wooded uplands. Much of the area is now protected as the Udalls Cove Wildlife Preserve, managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. UCPC is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
About Udalls Cove
Udalls Cove is an inlet of Little Neck Bay, part of Long Island Sound, between the Douglaston and Great Neck peninsulas. At the head of the Cove (its southern end) is a large and healthy salt water marsh. Behind that, Aurora Pond lies at the center of freshwater wetlands, bounded by steep, wooded slopes.
.......Udalls Cove from Virginia Point
Two freshwater streams drain into the Cove.
One of these, Gabler�s Creek, runs through the Wildlife Preserve.
It flows north from Northern Boulevard (opposite St. Anastasia�s
Church) through �The Ravine,� a deep wooded gully that lies between
Little Neck and Douglaston. Gabler�s
Creek passes underneath the Long Island Railroad tracks just west of the
Little Neck Station. It
passes near Aurora Pond, then through a culvert underneath Sandhill Road
(known locally as �the Back Road�), then out to the Cove through the
salt marsh. (See
Udalls Cove is home to a wide variety of wildlife including egrets, herons, ducks, geese, and swans; mammals such as muskrat and raccoons (and even an occasional fox); toads, frogs and salamanders; turtles; and many kinds of fish. Osprey � huge fish eagles that nest nearby � use the area for fishing.
History of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee
Prior to the 1950's, the area between Douglaston and Great Neck north of the Long Island Railroad was sparsely developed. Two small boatyards at the northern end of Little Neck Parkway, at what is now called Virginia Point, were surrounded by salt marsh. During the 1950's and 1960's many more houses were built, and plans were even made for a golf course to be built on filled wetlands. At the same time, the wooded uplands were being whittled away also, as development encroached from all sides. To make matters worse, the remaining marshlands and woods had become dump sites, littered with garbage, demolition debris and even wrecked cars.
Then one woman said, �Enough.� Aurora Gareiss, a feisty, middle-aged Douglaston resident whose home looked out on Udalls Cove, determined that what was left of the wetlands and woods around the Cove should be conserved.
the head of Udalls Cove
On a Saturday morning in April, 1970, on the occasion of our nation�s first Earth Day, a dedicated group of citizens from Douglaston, Little Neck and Great Neck assembled at the �Back Road� just west of the Little Neck railroad station, between Little Neck and Douglaston. Standing at the edge of a picturesque, one-acre freshwater pond, they committed themselves to preserving the last remnants of undeveloped marshlands, shoreline and wooded uplands in the Udalls Cove watershed. Inspired by the indomitable and inimitable Ms. Gareiss, they formed the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC). They followed up with the first of what would become annual cleanups of the wetlands and the shoreline.
With Aurora Gareiss as its first
president, and later with Doug MacKay and Ralph Kamhi as her successors, the
organization has achieved many of its goals. Much of the area has been acquired
by New York State and City, and the Village of Great Neck Estates, and is now
protected as the Udalls Cove Park and Preserve. In recognition of Ms. Gareiss�
outstanding contributions to conservation in Udalls Cove and around the City and
State, the lovely pond, with its water fowl and toads and fish and snapping
turtles was officially named Aurora Pond. Sadly, Ms. Gareiss passed away
in 2000 (see
Annual Aurora Gareiss Awards for Wetlands Conservation
But there is still much to do. Actual acquisition of several pieces of property within the �Ravine� portion of the designated perimeter of the Udalls Cove Park has not yet occurred. And over-development continues to threaten the watershed on which the health of the Preserve depends. Aurora Pond itself was in dire need of restoration � a project completed in 2006 (see
UCPC also promotes environmental awareness and conservation education among the young people of our community. (See
Restoration) � but more restoration work remains to be done.
Annual Aurora Gareiss Awards for Wetlands Conservation).
Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, Inc.
251-31 42nd Avenue
Little Neck, N.Y. 11363
Walter Mugdan, President
First Vice President: Bruce Stuart
Second Vice President: Patrick St. John
Treasurer: Nancie Kamhi
Recording Secretary: Karen Dinegar
Last modified: 02/08/15