Biking out on Fishers Island

05/27/2010 12:00 AM |

A new path for biking, walking and running on Fishers Island will open to all Southold Town residents on Memorial Day. The path runs through the private eastern half of the island, Southold Town’s easternmost hamlet.

Want to take a bicycle trip to Fishers Island next weekend?

Grab your bike, head to New London and get a Sea Jet ticket. A “recreation path” for biking, walking and running will be open to all residents of Southold Town by next weekend, said John McGillian, a money manager from Boston who owns a summer house on Fishers Island, Southold Town’s easternmost hamlet 11 miles away from Orient Point.

Mr. Gillian headed up an effort by islanders to raise $3 million for the four-mile-long path, which is on the not-often seen eastern end of Fishers Island, a private haven for some of the country’s wealthiest people.

Residents of Southold Town can use the path free of charge, but they must show proof of residency at the gated entrance of the eastern half of the island and sign a waiver of liability, Mr. McGillian said. Hours will be sunrise to sunset seven days a week.

Biking became too dangerous on the narrow roadways of the private association that owns the eastern part of the island, Mr. Gillian said. The path was built alongside existing roads. He and a group of islanders began talking about building a path about 15 years ago, and created a foundation to finance the project three years ago. Construction started last November.

“It’s challenging terrain on the eastern side, and there were a lot of near accidents,” he said. “That was the genesis of the idea for the path.”

Mr. McGillian said that it was easier to get the path built on the private part of the island simply because the foundation group didn’t have to wait for permission from a public entity, which they would have had to do on the public western half.

“We probably will extend the path in the future,” Mr. McGillian said. “It just takes longer on public roads.”

Mr. McGillian warned those non-islanders planning to use the path that there are no amenities on the gated half of Fishers Island.

“It might not be considered touristy — you won’t find an ice-cream stand,” he said, “but it’s a nice ride if you like scenic beauty.”

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Recreational path Rules

No motorized vehicles

No roller blades, skateboards or scooters

No speed bikers

Keep right, pass on left

Warn those you are passing

Bells are mandatory for bicycles

Yield to slower users

Yield at driveways and road crossings

A parent or a guardian must accompany children under 10

Helmets are mandatory for children 14 and under and encouraged for all.

Dogs must be kept under control

Clean up after your dog

Path closed at sundown