Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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our nature and recreation trails

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North Fork

Dam Pond
 

 

After a frightening larval tick experience in the Sarnoff Preserve, I decided to look for a safer place to hike.  I remembered walking the trails by Laurel Lake on the North Fork. These trails are stewarded by the Peconic Land Trust and they are well maintained with a wide treadway.  I checked my website for PLT events and found a “Wetland Exploration at Dam Pond Maritime Reserve.”  These 140 acres have been protected through a cooperative effort with private land owners, the PLT, the Town of Southold, and Suffolk County. 

I remembered visiting this trail last year and the wide, well-trimmed trails was appealing after my experience earlier in the week. I traveled east through East Marion on Route 25.  It was only after I drove by the scenic pond on the left that I realized I had passed the entrance to the Reserve.  The event was organized by the PLT and a Cornell Cooperative instructor led the interpretive hike.  We caught eel, spider crabs, shrimp, and pipefish in a seining net, carefully returning them to the water.  We walked only a small part of the trail network.  There were people jogging and riding bikes.  Several benches are provided along the trail for resting.  When the group returned, I went back out to explore on my own. 

I found that there are three loops covering a total distance of less than 2 miles.  There are two green loops connected by a green trail; a red trail creating a loop between the green loops uses the green connecting trail as one of its sides.  A couple of short trails take you to the shore of the pond affording a stunning view towards the Sound.  I was particularly impressed by the red trail; it’s a well-executed trail through a hardwood forest.  What a treat to experience several diverse ecological communities in such close proximity.  In a matter of minutes, the trail takes you from salt and freshwater wetlands to a copse of red cedars and woods of oak and hickory.

PS - If you are worried about ticks, participating in a trails group sponsored hike is your best bet.  Hike leaders preview their hikes before leading them and won’t take hikers on heavily infested trails.
 

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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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