Land trust seeking state funds for Wolf Preserve in Southold

The Peconic Land Trust is seeking state grant funding to help revitalize trails at the Wolf Preserve in Southold.

The 23-acre preserve off Main Bayview Road is home to two hiking trails, which the organization is hoping to eventually connect.

After receiving approval from Southold Town at a July 31 board meeting, the land trust submitted a $29,000 matching grant proposal to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation under the Environmental Protection Fund.

The funding will help fund a portion of the costs to hire a landscape architecture firm to complete a landscape master plan for the property, according to Picnic Land Trust vice president Yvette DeBow-Salsedo.

“The landscape master plan will incorporate a review of the site and determine all the necessary features, tasks, permits and costs for the implementation of an accessible trail system at the Wolf Preserve that would traverse freshwater wetland habitats, meadows, and woodland areas,” Ms. DeBow-Salsedo said.

Their ultimate goal is a trail that would comply with federal trail accessibility guidelines. “We’re looking to make [the trails] a little bit of an easier grade for people who have mobility issues,” said Brendan Minogue, a land steward at Peconic Land Trust.

The current trail network ventures about a half mile into a wooded area and along a wetland area. 

“The whole middle portion is a wetland area that’s not really visible or easily accessible from the trails,” Mr. Minogue said. “We’re hoping to possibly connect the two sides with a boardwalk and possibly put in some educational features to open it up to more use for the community.”

The total project cost would be determined in the master plan.

According to Mr. Minogue, the Wolf Preserve property was chosen because its existing trails already mimic some of the Forest Service trail accessibility guidelines, which set standards for width, grade, resting areas and passing spaces.

Lenore Wolf donated the property to the Peconic Land Trust in her will in 2003. The New York City resident found solace in Southold, where she moved to enjoy retirement in the mid-1970s. It was opened to the public in 2006 and features wetlands, woodlands and meadows.

“The potential accessible trail system at the Wolf Preserve is a great opportunity to extend the legacy of Dr. Lenore Wolf, who saw the preserve as a place for people to ‘breathe and renew their connection to the land,’ ” said Pam Greene, senior vice president of the Peconic Land Trust.

The accessible trail system would be the first of its kind on the North Fork. 

“It’s something we didn’t see a lot of and thought it would be a nice thing for the community, especially up here. You have Peconic Landing just down the road and overall, an aging population [that is still interested in being outside],” Mr. Minogue said.

The agency expects a decision on the grant in November.

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