Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

preserving, protecting and enhancing
our nature and recreation trails




Cranberry Bog Preserve County Park



Last Wednesday was an uncomfortably hot day, so I decided to take a short walk and then go for a swim.  It had been several years since I last visited Sweezy Pond in Riverhead, but I remembered it as a well-shaded trail that loops around a pond; a short easy excursion, the perfect kind of hike to take on a hot day.  As I walked, I munched blueberries, and took pictures of the wide variety of dragonflies and the myriad of other plants and animals.  I was particularly interested in getting some pictures of pitcher plants and bladderworts; insectivorous plants that are found by the highly acidic ponds on Long Island.  I followed all the paths to the edge of the pond and found many bladderworts, but I didn’t see any pitcher plants, although I remembered seeing them on my previous visits.  I was very careful not to trample the unique ecology at the pond’s edge in search of these remarkable plants.  From the different vantage points I did however, manage to get some pretty pictures of the pond.

The Cranberry Bog Preserve County Park has a mile-long trail that loops around Sweezy Pond.  The Little Peconic River, the outlet of Wildwood Lake, runs through this 165-acre park, and feeds Sweezy Pond.  The pond was formed in the late 1800’s to flood a cranberry bog.  John Sweezy, who operated a gristmill powered by the Little Peconic River (and owned the surrounding land) sold the property to the Woodhull brothers for their cranberry growing venture.  It became one of the biggest cranberry growing operations on Long Island.  At one time, Suffolk County was the third largest producer of cranberries in the United States.

The trail runs through wetland trees and shrubs near the edge of the pond and as you move away from the pond, you enter a typical pine-oak barrens.  There was a powerful aroma of sweet pepperbush in bloom.  On the north edge of the pond you will see the remains of a pump house that was part of an elaborate hydraulic system that controlled the water level and pumped a copper sulfate solution that was used to control the insects.  There is a white Atlantic cedar swamp north of the pond, and you can see many young cedars taking hold along the edge of the pond.  In some places the young cedar are losing out to an incursion of phragmite.

To get to Cranberry Bog Preserve, take 495 to exit 71, travel 4.2 miles on C. R. 24 to the traffic circle in Riverhead.  At the circle take the first road off to your right, C. R. 63, then travel 0.9 miles to a dirt parking area marked by a County Park sign on the right side of the road.

For a visit without any risk go to this link: www.hike-li.org/bog.htm

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782

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