Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Springs

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During the June 07 East Hampton Trails Preservation meeting it was announced that the first work was done on the proposed Springs-Amagansett Trail.  This consisted of clearing trash from a site near School Street.  It was also reported that EHTPS had tremendous help from the East Hampton Natural Resources Department; their GPS expertise and knowledge of the principles of trail design were invaluable.  Several months later, it was announced that Black Locust logs were harvested at the old brush dump on Bull Path.  They would be used for the new trail as signposts and components of a log staircase being built in Amagansett.

Now it was mid November, and Gene Makl, EHTPS VP in charge of Trails Planning had offered to meet me at the parking lot behind The Amagansett Library on Montauk Highway for a preview of the new trail.  He said, just follow the signs for public parking, they will lead you behind the library.  I got out of my car into Genes car, and he drove north to the Parson’s Blacksmith Shop in Springs.  It faces Ashawagh Hall, across Old Stone Highway, at the Springs Fireplace Road intersection.  The Ambrose Parsons House was originally built in the late 1700s by Ambrose Parsons and was rebuilt in 1851. The Springs Historical Society's headquarters is in the Ambrose Parsons House.  It was willed to the town of East Hampton by Elizabeth Parker Anderson, the last private owner, "to be used as a library for the people of Springs."  The Springs Historical Society now operates the Library, and the Town maintains the building and grounds.

We parked in the informal parking area in front of the Library.  We headed south behind the building and found the beginning of the trail marked with 4-inch diameter round painted, yellow blazes.  Gene explained that the EHTPS trail crew developed a method using round sponges and paint brushes to make the blazes perfectly round and uniform in size. 

Gene is very energetic, he walks fast and talks fast, so I was already braced for the next torrent of information:” The Springs/Amagansett Trail was conceived by Deb Foster, a retiring council person on the East Hampton Town Board.  She approached the EHTPS in early 2006 with a proposal to establish a north/south neighborhood trail that would link the two hamlets.  Her original thought was to have the trail run from Maidstone Park in Springs to the ocean beach in Amagansett, about 10 miles.  Deb and EHTPS did a feasibility study and concluded that there were many land parcels not available, resulting in considerable road walking and/or long delays in getting approvals.  As a result, the plan changed to having the trail run from the center of Springs to the center of Amagansett, 4.5 miles.  In August of 2006 EHTPS made a presentation to the East Hampton Town Board and was given unanimous approval to proceed.  This was the first time EHTPS was approached by the Town to create a trail.  With Deb Foster leading the charge, land owners were approached, approvals were obtained, changes were made, trail connections were established and the trail was completed in late October 2007.  Over half of the trail was created from existing trails; there was minimum cutting or disturbance of the land parcels.  It is hoped that in the future the trail can be expanded to the original plan.  Meanwhile, the people of East Hampton can enjoy this diverse trail which includes oak and beech forest, working farm land, school play grounds, residential neighborhoods and historic landmarks.  On December 1, 2007 at 10:00 AM there will be an inaugural ceremony and hike beginning at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs, and on December 8 EHTPS will lead the hike in the opposite direction, starting at the Amagansett Library.  Everyone is invited.    That same evening at our annual holiday celebration, EHTPS will honor Deb Foster with it's annual George Sid Miller Friend of the Trails award. Did you get all that Ken?”

To the left, we could see Pussy’s Pond peeking through the dense woods.  We came out onto School Street where we turned right.  Soon a yellow blazed telephone pole led us into the Lassaw Preserve.  We walked though oak, beech, and a stand of Red Cedar.  Walked by a “School Trail” sign indicating a trail to the nearby school.  When we reached Hildreth Place, we turned left, and were on Accabonnac Road only a short distance.  Soon we began to see the blue rectangular blazes of the Jacobs Farm Loop.  We followed the yellow blazes through the Jacobs Farm Preserve across Red Dirt road, to enter through post and rail “kissing gates” into the Peconic Land Trust’s Stony Hill Preserve.  We turn left at Stony Hill Road.  We walk along this dirt road for a short distance and then turn right by a Peconic Land Trust sign.  We find ourselves walking on a trail that had once been part of the Paumanok Path, but the white rectangles are now covered with blue paint, we are on a narrow, rugged, winding, picturesque stretch of Town property that abruptly opens up into cleared agricultural land.  The blazes are now on “flexi-stacks” and locust logs harvested from the old brush dump.

We cut across Town Lane and follow Windmill Lane, walked across the railroad tracks at grade.  Yellow blazes on a pole, on the right side of the road leads us down an attractive stairway built out of black locust logs to what looks like someone’s backyard.  Once again we walk through agricultural land, across a field, through a farm shed, and into the parking lot behind the library.

When I asked Joan Porco, author of “Holding Back the Tide, the Thirty-Five Year Struggle to Save Montauk”, why she feels that this trail is so important, she said, “Deb Foster, a former school teacher, had as her goal in initiating the trail, hope that young people may come to an awareness of the precious history and beauty of the area in which they live.”

 

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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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