Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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North Sea / Southampton Village

Paumanok Path; North Sea to Noyac

 

 

Saturday I met with a Boy Scout named Mike and his father Sean.  Mike, a member of the Chaminade Hiking Club, lives in North Merrick.  He and his family have been walking segments of the Paumanok Path for several years.  Mike contacted me because he couldn’t find the Paumanok Path between North Sea Road and Great Hill Road in North Sea.  He asked if I could help him with a presentation for his Eagle Scout project that would address the trails issues here.  I told Mike that I have made the Town aware of the trails issues in this area and they have promised to help alleviate them.  Mike, a bright 15-year old, pointed out that an important component of his project would be working with the Town officials.

We met where the trail passes his aunt’s house on Spinnaker Way.  This new street hasn’t been added to the local atlases.  It is located between Noyac Road and Majors Path.  On Spinnaker Way, the entrance to the trail is well marked on both sides of the road because the trail doesn’t cut straight across the road.  Heading east we entered the trail to find that all the trail markers had been removed.  With some difficulty, we were able to discern where the trail blazes had been and found that the path led us through a narrow easement between two houses fronting Old Fish Cove Road.  When we came out onto the road, we turned left towards Straight Path and then right up Johnson.  Mike asked, “Even after we reblaze the trail, how would a through-hiker know what roads to walk?”  He also pointed out that if we ask the right people, perhaps the Community Center parking lot on the corner could be a place for hikers and trail maintainers to park.  He didn’t think it would be a good idea to park in front of people’s homes. From Johnson we cut across the Firemen’s Field and then through some cleared lots.  Again there was an obvious challenge as to where to put the Paumanok Path white blazes. We then traveled through a small woods buffer into the back of the Highway Department property.  Here the trail is periodically flooded and blocked by a trailer and building materials.  When we worked our way to North Sea Road we were confronted with heavy fast moving traffic. Mike said, “There should be some hiker crossing signs here!”

On the other side of the road the trail runs along a cultivated field only to be blocked by deer fencing.  The best way to visit the segment of trail that is blocked by this fence is through the Nature Conservancy’s Marguerite Greef Wildlife Sanctuary at Big Woods.  To get there from County Road 39, head north on Magee Street; pass Tuckahoe School on your right; cross over Sebonac Road, continue on North Magee Street until you reach a five-way intersection; turn right onto Millstone Brook Road.  After a short distance you will find a small parking area on your left. 

The last remaining gap in the Paumanok Path is west of the entrance to Big Woods.  Except for the small problem area that I walked with Mike and his father, the Paumanok Path runs east all the way to the Montauk Lighthouse from here.  From the parking lot you can follow white rectangular blazes through lovely undisturbed beech woods.  The trail is bumpy with the aggressive roots from these trees.  The canopy of leaves is bright yellow now.  After a short distance there is a right turn; a little further along there is a left turn.  By the left turn there are some “No Trespassing” signs.  Don’t let these signs deter you from continuing; if you stay on the marked trail, you are not trespassing.  As you continue east, the predominant trees change from beech to oak, hickory, and pine.  The hickory leaves are now orange, the oaks and brush layer of blueberry and huckleberry are red.  The trail turns toward the tidal marshland with shadbush, maple and pepperbush.  At this point the trail jogs out to give you a spectacular view of Sebonac Creek.  The trail crosses over Scott Road, then Millstone Brook Road where it brings you along the edge of Big Fresh Pond, and across some lovely freshwater wetlands and over a wooden bridge that crosses a brook that feeds Big Fresh Pond.  Then you are back in an upland hardwood forest heading for North Sea Road.  The fence that crosses Town-owned land blocks your access to the trail that continues across North Sea Road, and travels through some of the most ecologically significant land on this Island, all the way to Montauk Point.

 

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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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