Iona Island (New York)

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Aerial view of Iona Island in the brown waters of the Hudson, looking northeast.
Iona Island from atop Bear Mountain

Iona Island is a 556-acre (2.2 km²) bedrock island, part of the Hudson River nature reserve in Stony Point, New York. It is part of Bear Mountain State Park[1] The island is separated from the Hudson's western shore by mudflats and freshwater tidal marshes. It and its surrounding marsh was designated a National Natural Landmark in May 1974[2] as well as the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve and a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Area.[3] It serves mainly as a bird sanctuary, particularly known as a winter nesting place for Bald Eagles.[4]


View of Iona Island from Popolopen Torne

Iona Island is transected by active railroad tracks, but is accessible to the public only by a causeway connecting it to U.S. Route 9W in Bear Mountain State Park, near Doodletown. It is maintained by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The southeastern part of the island, once cut off by marshes, is known as Round Island. The hill on the western side, south of the causeway, was also once treated as separate, and referred to as Courtland Island. Snake Hole Creek originates in the low marshes towards the center of the island and flows southwesterly, then turning to the southeast and finally east in a long crescent to reach the Hudson. It separates the marshes of Salisbury Meadow, on the west side, from Ring Meadow, on the east side.


Iona Island as seen from West Mountain
The naval facility on Iona Island.

It was originally known as Salisbury Island, and later as Weyant's Island[5] (for the local Weyant or Weiant[6] family). In 1847, it was bought by John Beveridge for Dr. E. W. Grant, his great son-in-law, who renamed it Iona Island and planted it with Iona grapes and fruit trees.[6] In 1868, his creditors foreclosed on the island.[5] The construction of the West Shore Railroad across the island in 1882 made it accessible to tourists, and an amusement park, hotel, and picnic grounds were built there.[5] It also had a dock to accommodate pleasure steamers on the river.[6]

In 1900, the island was bought by the U.S. Navy for use as a naval ammunition depot, which remained in service until 1947. It was bought by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in 1965.[5]


The island was the subject of a Bioblitz in 2000[7]

List of identified bird species[edit]


  1. ^ NYS Waterfront
  2. ^ NPS NNL Summary
  3. ^ DEC page on Iona island
  4. ^ Audubon Society
  5. ^ a b c d Myles, William J (1999). Harriman Trails (2nd ed. ed.). The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. ISBN 1-880775-18-2. 
  6. ^ a b c Stalter, Elizabeth (1996). Doodletown. Bear Mountain, New York: Palisades Interstate Park Commission Press. ISBN 0-9655737-0-2. 
  7. ^ Bioblitz

External links[edit]