Bosque Estatal San Patricio: A Little Forest in the City
5/23- Volunteers and groups did a great job cleaning up the forest and it has now reopened with a limited schedule and it will be visits by appointment only! Wed- Saturdays 9am-3pm. Call 787-268-5353 to make a reservation. Bilingual.
I think nature is amazing, how it slowly and quietly rejuvenates, and how it always wins. This is true of anything it touches. The Bosque Estatal de San Patricio is a great example of nature reclaiming a concrete jungle. This park is a nice place to walk around, or bike with the family.
In the 1960s, this area was used as a housing area for the US Navy, with roads, sidewalks, and concrete houses. By the end of the 1970s, the buildings were demolished and the housing development was abandoned. After many years, the area was protected to let is become a forested area — a preserved open space for future generations. The Departamento De Recursos Naturales y Ambientales (DRNA) is in charge of the area, and it is well maintained.
I did not know the history (or anything) about this forest when we first went to visit in 2016. The forest is at the end of a street … just the gate and a sign. You park on the street, and walk in. The gates may be open at some time, I don’t know, but there is handicapped parking inside.
There is a map of the forest as you walk in … it was a bit confusing to us … all the trails are straight from one end to another. As we walked, we could see piles of rubble, sidewalks, sewer grates, and even old fire hydrants. It really gave us the creeps … a “Planet of the Apes” feel! But it was quiet, there were birds everywhere, and there was quite a healthy mixture of plants and trees.
Later, after a little research, we realized what it was, and it makes perfect sense! The “trails” are the old paved roads through the housing development. The forest is moving in and covering all the rubble piles of the old buildings. Many of the landscaping plants are now mixing in with the wild plants. It is a forest, and if you look closely, you see how nature will beautify even the ugliest things left behind by humans.
Now, under the DRNA management, the park has become a place of activities and learning. Now there are new facilities also and they host many community events. There are also bathrooms if needed. There are different types of gardens planted, to attract bees or to show how to grow vegatables etc. Check it out! While we were there, we saw a few families, some kids on bikes, parents pushing strollers, and people walking their dogs. Everyone enjoying themselves. It was a nice way to spend an hour. I have seen prettier forest areas in Puerto Rico, but this one was interesting!
One noteworthy thing is that, since a lot of it is paved, there are a decent amount of “trails” that are wheelchair accessible. And there is a sensory area for small kids to play. Dogs not allowed.
There is no admission fee to use this park.
By appointment only! Call 787-268-5353 or 211 in PR for info. Wed- Sat 9am-3pm.
Check out their Facebook page for the most recent info.
From Calle Roosevelt (Route 23), turn at the gas station and Los Borinquen Towers onto Calle Ensenada, and contine to the end to the park gate. Park on the street, and make sure not to block anyone’s driveway.
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