The last pieces in the plan to preserve Pipes Cove at the western edge of Greenport village are falling into place, after the Southold Town Board agreed two weeks ago to negotiate the purchase of 23.5 more acres of the approximately 600 surrounding the cove slated to become a nature preserve.
Southold has been acquiring parcels for the preserve for at least five years, said the town’s land management director, Melissa Spiro. The few remaining small pieces on the town’s wish list are mostly wetlands, she said.
“The job’s not complete, but it’s substantially done,” she said.
The town is in contract to buy, with the county, a 27.4-acre property at the corner of Route 25 and Albertson Lane owned by Manor Grove Corp. for $1.125 million, with the town and county each paying half. As a result of its recent decision to proceed, the town is now in negotiations to buy the 23.5-acre parcel on the south side of Route 25 from Julia Sill, using $538,000 in Community Preservation Fund money.
The ultimate goal both to provide a pristine habitat for the extremely diverse animal and plant life in the wetland habitat surrounding the cove and create hiking trails in a larger preserved area extending from Long Island Sound on the north to the cove on the south.
Though no official trails have been established throughout the area, the town has opened a well-used public beach on preserved property at the end of Pipes Neck Road and some properties within the preserve have been used by bow hunters participating in the town’s deer management program, said Ms. Spiro.
“There are no trails sketched out. They are contingent on which properties we own. Some of them are pretty wet,” she added.
In another land preservation deal, the town has agreed to purchase the development rights on 8.26 acres of farmland on Wickham Avenue in Cutchogue from Flora Nurseries for $520,380. The nursery, which had proposed a subdivision on the land, withdrew that proposal after the Town Board approved the development rights purchase on Nov. 30. The land, at 6900 Wickham Ave., is used primarily for greenhouse production of tomatoes and flowers.