Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

preserving, protecting and enhancing
our nature and recreation trails


David A. Sarnoff Preserve

Wildwood Lake and Red Loop



Why do the trails groups lead so many free hikes?  Why don’t the people who love Long Island’s trails just build and walk the trails in blissful solitude instead of working to bring as many people to the Island’s “natural” places as possible?  The motivation is simple; the more people who experience these beautiful places, the more who will work for their protection.  People who depend on trails for recreation and rejuvenation are motivated to take care of them.  The trails groups do a tremendous service by making a multitude of exciting hikes accessible to the public.

Land managers, along with environmental scientists and students, need the trails in order to access the ecosystems they protect and study.  Hiking a nature trail renews the spirit and provides opportunities for birding, horseback riding, photography, art, mountain biking, hunting, running, etc.  As more people use the trails (with gentle respect!), the more secure this resource will become.

When dressing for a hike, wear light colored pants and socks, a hat, sun block, and running sneakers or hiking boots.  Sneakers with a lot of mesh may help your feet breath, but they allow in too much sand.  Course woven socks do not provide a barrier to smaller ticks.  I wear two pairs of socks, one course weave, one fine weave.  As soon as it gets warm, I treat my pants, socks, and sneakers with a permethrin-based insect repellent. New hikers should call the hike leader prior to the hike if they are unsure about how to prepare. Hike leaders make themselves available for this reason.  Please call a few days in advance though; remember hike leaders have complicated lives too!

In May 2006, I was the sweep (last in line) for one of John Virgilio’s Sarnoff Preserve hikes.  The sweep and leader must both know the hike well in order to be sure that hikers don’t get separated from the group.  John lives within walking distance of the Preserve, knows it very well, and cares deeply about this vast expanse of archetypical Pine Barrens.

Last Saturday, nine people participated in John’s energetic 7-mile hike.  From the Sarnoff CR 104 parking area, we followed the white rectangular-painted blazes of the Paumanok Path (PP) west.  We crossed the DEC yellow trail.  If you turn left here, you visit the dwarf pines; a right will take you up to the NYSDEC Red Loop Trail.  Our destination was the Red Loop, but first we continued on the PP to Wildwood Lake.  A mile after crossing the yellow trail, we turned right (north) onto an unmarked dirt, woods road after about 100 yards a left turn led us onto a badly rutted road , a short distance down to Wildwood Lake.  After we rested and enjoyed the view, this same much worn illegal ATV trail led us north to the DEC Red Loop.

Some of the hikers were picking up ticks, so instead of turning right and walking through the wetlands surrounding the lake (where the trails are badly overgrown), we continued straight ahead, following the trail as it turned eastward.  This trail is very well-blazed now despite incessant vandalism of the plastic, round, DEC blazes.  After a while, instead of following the Red Loop, John turned left onto the firebreak/access road.  This firebreak is located inside the Red Loop, but touches it at the north end of this segment.  John followed the firebreak to where it turns into a paved access road.  Where the road crosses the Red Loop, John followed the red blazes right (south) to the DEC yellow trail.  The DEC access trails are marked in yellow.  We followed this trail back to the parking area.

To get to the David Sarnoff Preserve State Department of Environmental Conservation parking area in Riverhead:

The dirt parking lot is on the west side of C.R. 104 midway between where the road intersects with C.R. 105 to the north and C.R. 31 to the south.  From the Riverhead circle, take C.R. 104 south approximately 2 miles.  From Sunrise Highway heading east, take Exit 63 (C.R. 31 North) to C.R. 104 North.  Travel a short distance and the parking lot will be on the left side of the road.

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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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