Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge
|The Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge in North Sea is a hidden gem of a park that's perfect for building a child's love of nature.|
The Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge is a federal wildlife area that sits on 187 acres of waterfront land just west of the town of Sag Harbor. Its unique environment features saltwater marshes, freshwater ponds, kettle holes and other ecosystems that attract a wide variety of birds and animals.
The refuge has a modest parking area that is paved and well-marked. Its popularity during the summer months can make it difficult to find parking, but late spring and early fall are ideal times to visit. Parking costs $4.00 per vehicle and an honor box is located near the entrance. Once inside, you will find a number of publications and guides to help you navigate the well-maintained trails that take you past the wildlife viewing areas.
The views along many parts of the trail are spectacular. Nestled between the Little Peconic and Noyac bays, the refuge provides sweeping vistas of pristine waterfront.
The beach itself stretches for miles and is a perfect spot to stop for a picnic and get your feet wet. There isn't much in the way of facilities on the beach itself, so it's not an ideal spot for a day at the beach. But if you're into collecting shells and enjoying the sea air, you could hardly do better than the Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge.
The most compelling attraction at the refuge are the many birds that make their home there. Many have become so accustomed to human visitors that they will come and eat seeds right out of your hand. Be sure to bring some bird seed with you, but be careful not to bring too much -- excess seeds around the path have led to a rodent problem that threatens the natural balance of the habitat. Be sure to bring any unused seed home with you.
Near the entrance, visitors will find an information center as well as restrooms and recycling bins for any trash you may have brought in for picnicking. The preserve is open every day, from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. Parts of the beach are closed during the nesting season, from April 1st through August 31st. The trails through the woods run for nearly two miles, and there is is shorter option for smaller legs. The trails are loose sand, but are mostly packed hard enough to navigate with a stroller.
The Elizabeth Morton Wildlife RefugueOfficial Site: http://www.fws.gov/
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