Camping in the Wilds of New York City

I’ve camped in a lot of places—the steppes of Mongolia, the East African bush, the Amazon, countless U.S. national parks and forests—but until recently I had never camped in a city, much less one with nearly nine million people.

This summer the National Park Service announced it was expanding its campgrounds in the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes 38 campsites in and around New York City. Located in the coastal dunes of New Jersey, on Staten Island and in Jamaica Bay, these campgrounds might seem like novelties. But as the world’s population grows to nine billion this century and as more and more people flock to cities, outdoor experiences such as hiking, biking and even camping are critical for city dwellers looking for connections to the natural world. And so, this past Veteran’s Day weekend, I set out to experience a night camping in the urban jungle.

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