STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – HUGUENOT – Pack a pillow, sleeping bag and a blanket, and keep an eye out for a sky full of stars.
Wolfe’s Pond Park is the Staten Island go-to spot for family summer camping, and, according to Urban Parks Rangers deputy director Richard Simon, it makes for an unforgettable evening of trailblazing and night-watching.
“It’s an experience to immerse yourself in the nighttime world,” said Simon.
Staten Islanders interested in attending one of the remaining two nights of outdoor camping on the South Shore are required to enter a lottery to land one of the 30 available spots.
“It’s not terribly crowded. We try to keep it as intimate as possible,” said Simon.
The next two events are Friday, Aug. 19, and Friday, Aug. 26. Both days require registration for the lottery, which can be found at www.nycgovparks.org. Registration lasts for only one day (Aug. 10 and 17 for each upcoming night).
Camp sites are not disclosed until people are chosen.
A night out in a city park has become very popular in the last couple of years, with hundreds citywide signing up for a given evening.
The agency provides tents and teaches attendees how to set them up. While campers are told to bring sleeping necessities, such as blankets and pillows, food is also provided.
In years past, Parks cooked up hot dogs and hamburgers, but this season, it is supplying MREs (Meal, ready to eat).
“It gives them more of a feel of what it’ll be like if you’re actually backpacking,” said Simon.
Beside stargazing and tracking a trail to find nightlife, such as bats and raccoons, some events may include geocaching, a treasure hunting game that includes using a navigation device to find items.
Three or four rangers are present throughout the night to assist campers.
Camping at Wolfe’s Pond is a first this year; it was previously held at Blue Heron Park, said Simon.
“People really enjoy it,” explained the deputy director. “Particularly with the economic climate, it’s harder for people to get away. Here, they can do something locally.”
For more information, visit the Parks Department website and click “Urban Park Rangers” under the “Things to Do” tab.