Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Paumanok Path Part IV

 

 

This 8-mile walk begins on the yellow trail behind the kiosk on the northwest corner of Suffolk Community College, Riverhead Campus parking lot #1.  This trailhead offers a 0.4-mile walk to the Paumanok Path (PP) and is where the PP crosses Speonk Riverhead Road on its eastward journey to Wildwood Lake and the Sarnoff Preserve.  The parking lot is patrolled by campus security and there are green-lined visitor parking spaces within sight of the kiosk. If you arrive on Sunday when the college gates are closed, park well onto the road shoulder and be alert for the fast moving traffic on Speonk Riverhead Road.

The kiosk is in need of some restoration.  The blazes were recently refreshed with yellow paint, and are easy to follow.  As you pass the opening to the college interpretive trail with its blue blazes and numbered stakes, the ATV damage to the trails increases.  It appears the illegal ATV riders are leaving the Paumanok Path for a quick spin around this blue loop.  The trail meets the Paumanok Path close to CR 51; to the left Bald Hill, to the right, Sarnoff.  Heading east the blazes for the PP need to be restored, for a distance, they’re camouflaged with multi-colored paint.  Turn right and follow the “non-blazes” until you come to a white and blue blaze.  You are still on the PP, this section of the Path shares its corridor with the blue interpretive loop.  The blazing between here and Wildwood Lake needs to be restored.  East of Speonk Riverhead Road, the trail tread is ripped up and uneven ravines are forming.  Someone is placing branches onto the trail in an obvious attempt to discourage illegal motorized vehicle use.

After crossing the LIPA ROW, note the ATV traffic has been diverted back onto the ROW by a kissing gate erected across the PP.  There is a mile of protected trail between here and the kissing gate erected near the Hampton Hills Country Club Road.  This section of trail visits some huge knobs with correspondingly deep kettles.  Steps erected as an Eagle Scout project long ago have kept the trail stable.  A thick pine and oak duff underfoot muffles your footsteps - the birds sing, the wind whispers.

Cross the Country Club Road, and a dirt road; climb a mild ridge and look to your left for Wildwood Lake.  Where the Path takes a right turn, continue straight a short distance and turn left to visit the lake.  Pay close attention to where you turn, a spider web of trails makes it easy to get lost here.  Once you rejoin the PP, the blazing east from Wildwood Lake has been refreshed and the trail is easy to follow all the way to Pleasure Drive.  Unfortunately, the brush is closing in on the trail and the next 3 miles will be impassible by the end of this summer, unless it is cut back before then.

After 2 miles, cross over the NYS DEC yellow trail.  This trail leads to the DEC red loop trail to the north, and to the dwarf pines to the south.  Note the deep kettle hole after crossing the yellow trail.  Less than a mile west of the DEC CR 104 parking area, you reach a trail marked with yellow-painted rectangles.  This well built trail leads around a deep kettle and meets back up with the PP at the parking lot. Follow the PP around the parking lot.  The trail enters the woods for a short distance before crossing over CR 104 north of the parking area, then crosses the road to a wide trail blocked by snow fence.  The fence has been discouraging illegal motorized access to what is now a Paumanok Path fire control line demonstration site with several informational kiosks.  Work your way around the fence and follow this wide straight avenue.  Pass where the yellow DEC trail takes you to a blue loop to your left. A quick right and left turn take you onto a much less disturbed section of trail.  Soon you find yourself at CR 104, where you follow the road shoulder left to the ROW, across Pleasure Drive to the parking area.

To get to Pleasure Drive in Flanders from Sunrise Highway: take Exit 64, C.R. 104 North; make an immediate right onto Pleasure Drive. After 100 yards the road expands into a parking area with a guardrail. Be careful not to block the nearby driveway.
 

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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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