Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Brookhaven

Trails Information Center
 

 

 In the early 1990’s the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference (LIGTC) worked cooperatively with County Parks to make the Trail Center in Manorville a reality.  The LIGTC built a 0.75-mile Wampmissic Loop Trail behind the Center.  However it wasn’t until 2001 that “El” Burton suggested that the surface of this trail be hardened and the grade improved to make it more accessible to the physically challenged.  At that time the trail was rededicated as “El’s Trail”, in honor of Mr. Burton, a longtime member of the LIGTC Board of Directors.

The Trail Center is located in Manorville 0.2-mile north of LIE exit 70 on County Road 111.  This is a good place to stop on your way east.  The Center has restrooms, maps, informational brochures, and a children’s “touch museum”.  The Trail Center is open 9AM to 5PM, April through October on a limited schedule.  Since it is only open between two and four days a week it is always a good idea to call before planning to visit (631-369-9768).  Considering the size of Long Island’s trails resource and the fact that our economy derives $4.3 billion from the tourist industry it seems to me that not only should the Trail Information Center be open every day of the year, but there should also be more than one of them. 

When I arrived at the Trail Center, Lillian McGarvey, an energetic, intelligent, and incredibly sweet-natured 85-year-young lady, greeted me.  Lillian shares her knowledge about all the trails, the trails groups and their events.  This year Mrs. McGarvey has been successful in facilitating many events that attract a lot of people to the Center.  Lillian is one of the most effective trails advocates on the Island.  She not only explains how to access the trails, but also why the trails and the trails groups are so important, and why they deserve our support.

As I was about to head out back to take my walk, Lillian gave me a free copy of the interpretive guide to the Wampmissic Trail.  Outside I greeted Vinnie, one of the LIGTC hike leaders.  He mentioned that he was leading a hike from the Trail Center Friday morning.  Vinnie asked me if I had walked George’s new One-Way Railroad Loop.  He said I should just follow the red blazes leading from El’s Trail.  As soon as I started walking the Wampmissic Trail I saw that there were three different colored blazes on the trees, red, blue, and yellow.  After walking a short distance I took a branch trail that was marked by yellow and red blazes.  The yellow trail, I knew would take me to the white blazes of the Paumanok Path.

I was no longer on a hardened surface, the pine needles felt soft under my feet.  I saw a towhee, a pine warbler, heard a hawk scream overhead and abruptly a deer bounded away.  Soon I arrived at Mill Road, walked across and began to follow half red and half white blazes.  I followed the red and white trail until it comes out on Mill Road.  Here you walk the road under the power lines and just before the railroad crossing turn right and start following the full red blazes along the trail parallel to the railroad tracks. This segment of trail used to be part of the Paumanok Path before it was rerouted onto Mill Road.  I enjoy walking this trail along the rail corridor, watching the trains pass below.  I understood why George called this a railroad loop.  Not only was I walking along an active railroad, but I was also walking along the abandoned railroad bed that was part of the Wampmissic Trail, and incidentally connected to the abandoned rail bed that runs through the Long Pond Greenbelt in Sag Harbor.

I followed the red blazes along the railroad tracks, to cross at grade, onto the Paumanok Path and the blazes became red and white.  Now I was walking back along the opposite side of the tracks to cross them at grade at Mill Road.  Follow the road under the power lines and look for a yellow “Shared Roadway” bicycle sign.  Here a full red blaze leads you back into the woods.  Now I was on my way back to El’s loop on a newly cut segment of trail.  When I reached El’s loop trail there was a red turn blaze pointing left.  Actually a turn in either direction will get you back to the Trail Center.

When I returned to the Trail Center I found a group of people gathered around Dorothy Magnani who was presenting an enthralling history of Manorville.  Lillian said, “this year we missed putting all the events on the www.hike-li.org website and in the LIGTC newsletter.  Did you know that Eric Burke brings baby bobwhite quail every Sunday and Monday?  The kids love them.” 

Another place to look for trails information is on the LIGTC website: www.hike-ligreenbelt.com

Trails Information Center

The Trails Information Center is located in Manorville 0.2-mile north of LIE exit 70 on County Road 111.  It’s a good place to stop when you are traveling east.  The Center has restrooms, maps, informational brochures, and a children’s “touch museum.”  The Trails Center is open 9AM to 5PM, April through October on a limited schedule.  Since it is only open between two and four days a week it’s always a good idea to call before planning to visit (631-369-9768).  Long Island’s economy derives over $4 billion from the tourist industry and trails are a vital component of that industry.  It would be great if the Trails Information Center could be open every day of the year.

When I arrived, the Trails Center guru, Lillian McGarvey, an energetic 85-year-young lady, greeted me.  Lillian reminded me about some of the upcoming Pine Barrens Discovery Series programs at the Trails Center.  For more information about events check the www.hike-li.org website or call the Trails Center, 631-852-3449 after 9:00 am.

Erick, John, and I have been working on a project to make the trails around the Trails Center easier to follow.  After the barbeque, John and I walked a trail loop that the three of us have been working on.  We started from the blue-blazed, 0.75-mile Wampmissic Loop Trail behind the Center.  The surface of this trail is hardened and the grade improved to make it more accessible to the physically challenged.  There are benches where you can rest along this trail, and mid-way there is a picnic bench in a grove of white pines.  Presently the blazes on this segment of trail are red, blue, and yellow.  Just before a bench and a pronounced split in the trail, the red trail cuts to the left into the woods.  John and I followed the red blazes parallel to the power lines, heading east.  When we reached Mill Road, we turned left and walked the road under the power lines.  Just before reaching the railroad crossing we turned right, up a steep embankment.  We then walked east on a strip of preserved land between the railroad and power line corridors.  The woods are dense here and the deep red blazes were often lost in shadow.  John and I discussed using a brighter color like orange for the blazes.  At one time this was the Paumanok Path (PP) route.  Red paint covered most of the white blazes.  After walking .05-mile parallel to the tracks we saw traces of the old trail, continuing straight ahead.  We followed it to the right where it turned onto a well-worn trail.  Again we were on what had once been the PP and we followed the white blazes across the power line right-of-way.  When we looked to the left we could see the tall grass of nearby wetlands.  Soon we followed the trail back across Mill Road; this time directly across, and then around a gate on the other side of the road.  We followed the yellow trail; a well-marked and well-used access trail to the PP.  When we reached the blue loop once again, we turned left and walked the Wampmissic Trail back to the Trails Center.

The Trails Center is certainly becoming a center of activity. Try to visit there before the end of the season!

 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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