Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Wainscott / East Hampton Village

Buckskill Airport Loop

 

 

I woke up early last Wednesday ready for a hike, so I checked my website to see what hike the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society (EHTPS) was sponsoring.  It was described as follows: April 12, Wednesday - 10:00 a.m. BUCKSKILL AIRPORT LOOP (4 miles). Within sight or sound of some major infrastructure (airport, recreation complex, rifle range) you can still find beautiful tranquility on an easy (flat) trail in the western end of town.  Meet on Wainscott-Northwest Rd (Daniel’s Hole Rd) just north of the airport where the overhead power line crosses the road. Leader: Richard Lupoletti (324-1127).  I hadn’t hiked Buckskill in a while and since Richard is one of my favorite hike leaders, I was eager to go along.  I realized that I had forgotten to bring my copy of the East Hampton Trail Guide.  I like to follow a hike on a map so that I can repeat it later on my own.  Richard is the Chair of the EHTPS Members’ Services Committee, so I knew I could purchase another copy of Charles Whalen’s East Hampton Trails Map from him.  Richard can be reached at the phone number above if you want to purchase a map or trail guide.

If Richard belonged to a Native American tribe he would surely hold the position of storyteller; I always enjoy his narratives.  He began by telling us to pay attention to the vegetation as we entered the woods.  We were about to enter on the east side of Daniel’s Hole Road.  “Note as you enter the woods there are many double and triple trunk trees.”  Richard said that this is often the result of fire.  That, in conjunction with the abundance of grass, leads one to believe that this land was at one time used as a pasture.  As you head deeper into the woods, low bush blueberry and huckleberry gradually replace the grass. 

Richard describes this area as an oasis in the center of activity because it is in close proximity to the airport, the railroad, Sunrise Highway, Wainscott NW Rd., the gun club and an indoor tennis facility.  “Yet when you walk into the woods you feel like you are secluded and alone.”  He also pointed out that this preserve sits on top of what will in the future be the source of East Hampton’s drinking water.  While Richard was speaking, we all heard the peep peep peeping of tree frogs in the nearby wetlands.  Richard shared his frequent endeavors to get a look at these elusive peepers and lamented that no matter how quiet he is when he approaches them they quiet down and won’t start peeping again for hours.  He shared his observation that many stands of oak trees in these woods have been attacked over the last few years by gypsy moths.  Many of the trees have been impacted so severely that they may not survive.  In the winter, the stands of mountain laurel create islands of green; in the spring they produce lovely blossoms.  This year, during the second week of June, Richard will lead a hike to the west side of Daniel’s Hole Road (Miller’s Ground), when there will be a profusion of laurel in bloom.  Richard said that last Monday evening, when he had previewed the hike, he’d had a difficult time following the loop because the plastic red markers are disappearing.  He came back early Wednesday morning and tied plastic ribbon to trees at all the important turns.  Richard promised that this is a temporary measure and in the near future EHTPS will either restore the plastic blazes or replace them with painted blazes.  The Buckskill Loop is his “adopted trail”, so he has a vested interest in making it as friendly to hikers as possible.  EHTPS still has some trails that can be adopted through its “Adopt-a-Trail” program.

You can become involved in EHTPS by attending one of their monthly meetings:  first Monday of each month; Ashawagh Hall in Springs; 7:30 p.m.  For information write: P. O. Box 2144, Amagansett, NY 11930 or e-mail: info@easthamptontrails.org

This is a challenging area to hike; I had a difficult time following where we were, even while using the map.  When I got home I referred to Mike Bottini’s Trail Guide to the South Fork.  That helped to clarify the route in my mind.  Contact Richard for one of these books as well.

You can have great adventures by repeatedly returning to this informal parking area on the shoulder of Daniel’s Hole Rd. and while using the map and the book, see how many of the loop trails you can follow on your own.  Have fun!

 

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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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