INWOOD — The Parks Department will install signs and GPS locators at 16 landmarks throughout Inwood Hill Park in the hopes of making the greenspace safer and more user-friendly.
The park contains the largest forest area in Manhattan as well as one of the borough’s few remaining natural salt marshes, attracting bird watchers, historians intersted in Native American caves and hikers who want to enjoy views of the Palisades.
However, the park’s densely wooded hills are isolated and can be difficult to navigate. The park has also occassionally been the site of crimes, including most recently a September 2014 robbery in which a woman was attacked with pepper spray.
The Parks Department has produced a new map and brochure of Inwood Hill Park that highlights 16 important landmarks including a rock formation known as Whale Back, the unusual Osage Orange Tree and the remains of the Straus Mansion.
In conjunction with the NYPD’s Information and Technology department, Parks will install signs and GPS locators at these landmarks this spring. Their goal is to better assist park users in the case of an emergency.
“If you’ve fallen and broken you’re ankle and know you just passed the Whale Back sign, you can say that and 911 will know exactly where you are,” said Jennifer Hoppa, the administrator for Northern Manhattan parks, at a community meeting on Tuesday.
In addition, Hoppa said the Parks Department and the Ranger Conservation Corps recently marked two of the main trails that run through the parks forest. Both trails are featured on the new map.
The Parks Department is working to make the map downloadable for mobile devices.
Hoppa said the Parks Department hopes the new map and signage will make the park feel more accessible to both locals and visitors.
“There’s so many wonderful features in Inwood Hill Park,” she said. “We really want local people to feel empowered and know about them.”