Forming an aquatic border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Petty Island spans 292 acres of northeastern nature. This gorgeous natural expanse was once designated for hotel and golf course development, but has instead been established as a permanent park and nature preserve. Our Pennsauken DWI lawyers are ecstatic about this choice, as we think it’s important to preserve as much of New Jersey’s natural beauty as possible. A few of the many reasons why we love Petty Island so much include:
Petty Island is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, with bountiful grounds for breeding, foraging, and resting. During a visit here, you may be fortunate enough to spot a couple of American bald eagles, hawks, falcons, and waterfowl like osprey, Northern harrier, Cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, American kestrel, peregrine falcon, and American black duck. Additionally, the island is home to songbirds like the Savannah sparrow, which migrate through the river corridor and find cover in the woods and wetlands of the island.
While the animal biodiversity is impressive, there is also plenty of diverse plant life to be found on Petty Island. Botanist David Snyder once found rare plants like the awl-leaf arrowhead, American waterwort, bouquet mud-plantain, and the water marigold during a single visit. The water marigold was a particularly rare find, as it’s scarcely spotted on a global scale and has only been documented in the Delaware River of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, the Hudson River in New York, and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
The nature of Petty Island is the most obvious draw, but there is a great deal of history at this site as well. Quaker Elizabeth Kinsey made a deal to buy the island from Lenni-Lenape Indian Chiefs in approximately 1678. As part of the deal, she allowed them to continue hunting and fishing on the island, as long as they agreed not to kill her hogs or mess with her hayfields. Quaker William Penn once owned the island. Pirates like Blackbeard have docked at the island. Benjamin Franklin once spent a night there. The fascinating historical anecdotes go on and on.
Petty Island is currently undergoing a restoration project which will allow visitors to learn all about the biodiversity of the island and its unique history. Residents will have breathtaking views of the Delaware River and Philadelphia skyline, which have both been obstructed before now. A $2 million stewardship fun has been granted by CITGO, which will be used toward educational programming, along with a $1 million fund for assisting the Trust in building a cultural and education center on the island.