Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve
Take exit 52 on the Long Island Expressway to Commack Road, going south 2.1 miles to the entrance in a large field on the left (east) side of the road. GPS Coordinates: 40.776515, -73.310143
The preserve contains many rare plant and animal species for hikers to experience.
The trail is well-marked with blue blazes, but hikers should take care to look for blazes at intersections where the trail may make a turn. The state does not use the universal (two blazes leaning in the direction of a turn) system, so be alert for this. Once past the clear areas which are dominated by cottontail rabbits, the trail leads into a woods of pitch pines before reaching the old route of Old Commack Road. The woods road eventually heads northeast through scrub oaks, and further on bigtooth aspen trees. The entire trail is a bit more than three miles of easy flat walking and can be covered in an hour and a half to two hours.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation manages this property, so a free permit is necessary to hike here -- see Contact Information for details.
Several rare plants and animals inhabit this dry, sterile, and sometimes hostile environment. Members of the heath family such as wintergreen, bearberry, blueberry, staggerbrush and trailing arbutus also grow in abundance here. Near the parking area on the east side there is a large clearing where the Edgewood State Hospital and adjacent Pilgrim State Mental Hospital once stood.
From the DEC’s park web page (use Contact Information on this site): The …”Preserve is dominated by pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, a rarely occurring community characterized by dense shrub thickets, compared to more tree dominated pine barrens communities that occur across Long Island. These unique barrens occur in only three places on Long Island, six in the State, and are considered a globally rare habitat. The barrens are interspersed with stands of bigtooth aspen as well as grasslands that have emerged on formerly developed portions of the property.”