About the Harbor Conservancy

In 2001, the National Park Service placed an umbrella over all 22 of its parklands in the metropolitan area, including icons like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, designating the new entity, the National Parks of New York Harbor [NPNH]. With nearly 27,000 acres, the National Park Service [NPS] is the largest caretaker, public or private, on the waterfront. Lower Manhattan is the epicenter of its network of harbor parks, historic sites and recreation areas that arc across three other boroughs of the city—Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island—and across to New Jersey.

In 2002, by invitation of the National Park Service, a new non-profit entity was envisioned and incubated by Marian Sulzberger Heiskell, David Rockefeller Jr. and Marie Salerno through the National Park Foundation. They founded the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy [Harbor Conservancy] as a 501 [c] 3 in December 2005 with an ambitious roster of actionable initiatives.

The Harbor Conservancy is the primary private partner of the NPNH, sanctioned under a U.S. Department of the Interior Friends Group Agreement. [Pursuant to the authority provided under the NPS Organic Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 1-3, The National Historic Preservation Act 16 U.S.C. § 461 et. Seq. and NPS donation acceptance authority provided under 16 U.S.C. § 6.] The Harbor Conservancy is charged with providing both philanthropic and earned revenue support to meet the future stewardship needs of NPNH.

In 2006, The New York Community Trust funded a Harbor Conservancy Earned Revenue/Feasibility and Business Plan of how the partnership could bring additional funding to park sites. In 2009, NPNH awarded to the Harbor Conservancy the authority to secure revenue streams for the park under a U.S. Department of Interior Cooperating Association Agreement. Under that agreement, in partnership with Eastern National, a non-profit national park partner, we have established retail stores on Ellis Island, Liberty Island and at the African Burial Ground.

The public-private partnership’s offices are headquartered at Federal Hall National Memorial at 26 Wall Street with staffing and resources realized by both partners to execute a shared portfolio of actionable projects.

Find out more about the Harbor Conservancy’s programs and projects.