On Sunday morning at a Kew Gardens Hills playground overlooking the lake, the Parks Deparment held a ceremony to announce the Pat Dolan Trail at Willow Lake.
“We are not only naming this in her honor, but inspiring generations of people to het to know her,” said Comptroller John Liu.
Created on top of Flushing Creek as part of the 1939 World's Fair, Willow Lake is one of two lakes in the Park. Just to the north is Meadow Lake, but unlike that body of water, which was intended to be used for recreational activities, Willow Lake was always intended as a natural refuge.
In 2002, Dolan and other concerned resident formed the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy to advocate for park and green space in the area. The group had a particular focus on both Meadow and Willow lakes, organizing several volunteer projects to restore the shoreline and protect the natural beauty of Willow Lake.
This past fall, the Parks Department's Natural Resource Group (NRG) completed phase one of the Willow Lake Preserve Reforestation Project aimed at restoring the plant diversity and lake ecosystem.
Funding was just allocated for phase two, which will include the removal of an invasive weed species and additional plantings.
In conjunction with the project, the conservancy helped build two bird blinds around the lake.
Dolan was a longtime Queens civic activist and had her hand in much more than just parks preservation. Just last week she was also remembered for her advocacy on behalf of the Queens library system at a ceremony announcing the expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills library.
Dolan had a reputation for being a tough fighter when she got involved in an issue, but also a welcoming individual.
“In her own way, she had a charm of her own below the surface,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, “and a had a great sense of humor.”