Long Pond Greenbelt Nature Center
Open on weekends from April through October, the Nature Center, formerly the Val Schaffner house, is owned by the Town of Southampton and staffed on Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 to 2:00 by Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt volunteer greeters. A large outdoor kiosk on the premises will tell you all about and guide you to the William B. Sickles Tree I.D. Trail. The kiosk sits a short walk from the trailhead and a free guidebook about Greenbelt trees is available at the kiosk. Visitors can also spend time in the small library of nature-related books and pamphlets established with a generous donation from Book Hampton in honor of Jeremy Nussbaum, its former owner. The Center hosts the monthly board meetings of Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt as well as FLPG’s “Sundays at Two” series of talks. The driveway entrance is at 1061 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, just north of the intersection with Scuttlehole Road, on the east side. Look for the sign. Parking space is available. Please note: The Center was closed during the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Please click here if you’d like to join our mailing list to learn of events once it reopens.
A perfect place for family nature outings. A diverse area made up of swamp, pond, bog, stream and upland forest, Sagg Swamp was established in the 1990s by The Nature Conservancy. Encompassing 105 acres, the Preserve’s system of cleared pathways includes 700 feet of boardwalk skimming across boggy areas and streams. A great destination for birders, over 44 nesting species have been catalogued, while dozens more pass through during spring and fall migrations. Sagg Swamp straddles the border between the hamlet of Bridgehampton and the Village of Sagaponack, with an entrance on Sagaponack Road. Look for the sign.
One of the few protected open grasslands remaining in the Town of Southampton, Vineyard Field, covering over 40 acres, has been transformed from an area thoroughly infested with several invasive plants into a delightful location for an array of activitie. Hikes and walks, nature classes and school visits, photography and plein-air painting, monthly full moon hikes, even the occasional comet watch, take place year round. FLPG’s Grassland Restoration Project began in 2005 and continues today. Click here if you’d like to volunteer to keep the invasive autumn olive, Japanese knotweed, and mile-a-minute vine under control _______ and click here _____ to see a report covering the first years of the project. Vineyard Field is located in Bridgehampton at 366 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, behind the SOFO Museum. Parking is available in the museum parking lot. Admission to the museum is not required for access to the field.
Storywalk at Mashashimuet Park
A great family-friendly way to get kids outdoors, walking, reading, and learning about nature. StoryWalk is a self-guided, storybook trail currently featuring “The Wild Adventures of Scurry, the Squirrel.” The one-mile loop starts at the bleachers by the ballfields at Mashashimuet and proceeds along Long Pond Greenbelt trails, crossing Ligonee Brook and looping back to end at the picnic tables near the tennis courts. The Scurry the Squirrel series is written by wildlife handler, rescuer, and educator Dell Cullum of East Hampton.
Southampton’s Environmental Treasure
Spectacular in its wealth of rare plants, animals, and ecological communities, the Greenbelt is widely recognized as one of the New York State’s most environmentally significant areas. Many of its ponds, fauna, and flora are classified by the New York Heritage Program as rare both in New York State and worldwide. The Greenbelt’s most splendid feature—its string of pearls–consists of a collection of thirteen coastal plain ponds. Among the largest are Poxabogue Pond, Crooked Pond, Long Pond, Little Long Pond, and Round Pond.
Within the 1,100-acre Long Pond Greenbelt management boundaries, close to 800 acres have been preserved outright since 1975, when Poxabogue Park was preserved by Suffolk County. In the decades since, Southampton Town funded many preservation purchases through local bond issues and, since 1999, through its Community Preservation Fund. Suffolk County and The Nature Conservancy have also continued their purchases of sensitive lands.
The Many Ways to Enjoy It
Hikers enjoy the many miles of trails that criss-cross the Greenbelt, some tracing ancient Native American routes to the ponds. (A trail map produced by the South Fork Natural History Society is available at the SoFo Museum or from FLPG.) Horseback riding is permitted on designated bridle paths. Birders are offered excellent opportunities for sighting the over 100 species recorded in the Greenbelt. Kayaks, canoes, sculls, rowboats, and boats with electric motors are allowed. Boats with engines powered by gas or diesel are prohibited. Photographers, artists, poets, writers and nature lovers of all kinds find inspiration everywhere! For information on waterfowl hunting and fishing licenses, contact the Southampton Town Trustees. Motorized vehicles and bicycles are prohibited.