Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Sagaponack

Poxabogue Preserve

 

 

Last Sunday I woke up several hours ahead of my family, so I grabbed an apple, a handful of almonds, and some water and headed for Poxabogue Preserve.  The Preserve is on the western edge of Sagaponack, on the north side of the 40-acre Poxabogue Pond.  A half-mile nature trail takes you through this 26-acre park.  It is a great place for winter waterfowl watching.  If you are an energetic hiker, you may be tempted to follow the trail parallel to the railroad tracks, under the overpass, to Narrow Lane and then head north on Haines Path to the entrance to the Long Pond Greenbelt.  The short lines of sight and the narrow underpass make this a dangerous place to walk, so I normally will return to my car and drive to the trailheads for the Long Pond Greenbelt trail system.

To get to the Poxabogue Preserve trailhead, travel on Montauk Highway, through Water Mill and Bridgehampton.  A mile east of Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Turnpike turn left (north) at the traffic light onto Sagg Road.  Take the first left onto Hildreth Lane and bear right onto Old Farm Road.  You will see Poxabogue Pond to the left.  After a short distance, you will see a dirt parking area. Suffolk County Parks installed two metal gates at the entrance to the Preserve to discourage people from driving on the wide, sandy road.  This road had been created to give access to a subdivision that, thankfully, was never built. 

Shortly after entering the Preserve, and just before the second gate, the trail bears to the left (south) through a field covered with moss, bearberry, wintergreen, reindeer lichen, and scattered bayberry and cedar.  The last time I visited this trail it was summer and there were tree swallows nesting in the bluebird houses built by the South Fork Natural History Society.  The access road was churned up by motorized traffic, and it was difficult to follow the trail because there were few trees on which to put blazes.  This Sunday, I was not surprised to see the birdhouses vacant, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the County had erected a second barricade to block cars from entering the Preserve, and that the Southampton Trails Preservation Society maintenance crew had used stakes with black owl blazes to mark the trail.  Thanks to the well-placed blazes, this trail is now very easy to follow.  As the trail approaches the pond, you enter an oak and hickory woods where you are afforded several excellent views of the pond.  Soon you will see that there are two bodies of water, Little Poxabogue Pond and Poxabogue Pond.  If you are alert, you can find an unmarked trail running between the two ponds.  When I walked to the end of this trail, I followed the sound of moving water and discovered a place where the water runs between the ponds.  I sat on a log here for a long time while listening to the water and the tap, tap, tapping of a woodpecker, and then I re-traced my steps back to the marked trail.  Here the trail follows the woods road parallel to the railroad tracks.  This part of the sandy path is a perfect place to play animal detective.  I always check to see the tracks of animals that have used the path or cut across it and try to guess what they were up to.   After a short walk this road takes you back to the parking lot. 

This is a short trail and it is easy to follow.  It runs through fields, woods, and wetlands offering an interesting and diverse ecology, quite amazing for such a small parcel of land.  Next time you wake up looking for a nice morning walk, perhaps you will consider taking one here.  For more information about this Suffolk County Parks Preserve call Suffolk County Parks at 631-854-4949, and for more information about trails in Southampton, call Southampton Trails Preservation Society at 631-537-5202.

 

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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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