Suffolk County, NY - April 22, 2015 - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today opened a newly expanded interpretive trail at DEC's Ridge Conservation Area in Ridge, Suffolk. The announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York's commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state's vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.
The trail, which has now been extended to 2.25 miles, winds its way through the 184-acre Ridge Conservation Area and features 14 interpretive posts describing forest, grassland and pond habitats.
"Interpretive trails are a great way to introduce families to the unique habitats of Long Island," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "I encourage all New Yorkers to enjoy New York's outdoor recreational resources like this newly expanded interpretive trail."
The interpretive trail will provide scenic viewing locations and smart phone technology allowing users to access information with a quick swipe of the QR code at the trail's entry way kiosk and stations along the path.
The trail starts at an accessible picnic area near the DEC's field headquarters and remains fully accessible as it rings the banks of the four-acre Randall Pond. Beyond Randall Pond, the trail has been widened to nearly eight feet in width as it winds its way through 81 acres of former farm fields and 85 acres of forest.
Starting at the pond, which is open for fishing, painted and snapping turtles can often be seen sunning themselves on floating logs and rocks. Cast a line and there is a good chance that several variety of fish ranging from pumpkinseed sunfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead to rainbow trout can be reeled in.
As a Watchable Wildlife location, trail hikers can view grassland bird species such as bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasants, turkeys, meadowlarks and grasshopper sparrows. Song birds like scarlet tanagers, catbirds, robins, cedar waxwings can be heard warbling along the path as they dart from tree to tree.
White-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, gray and flying squirrels are some of the many mammal species that can be found roaming and flying through the forest as they search for food.
Ridge Conservation Area
Directions to Ridge Conservation Area: Rt. 495 (L.I.E.) exit 68, north on William Floyd Parkway (CR 46) to Rt. 25 west, 1/4 mile to right turn on Randall Road, entrance 300' on left side.
Ridge Conservation Area Hours: Trail open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ridge Conservation Area Permits: Permits required for activities other than hiking and fishing. Call the Ridge Check Station at (631) 924-3156 (November - January) or see the important Links for more information on permits.